In 1858, four men, Virgil Hickox, Cornelius Flagg, Joseph Ledlie and David Sherman (1812 - 1871) bought, surveyed and platted what is now called Original Sherman.
The town’s name was a result of the luck of the draw. The four men placed their names in a hat and David Sherman’s name was drawn. One of the subdivisions in Sherman designated as Flaggland Parks, was named after Cornelius Flagg.
Early settlers in Sherman were predominately Italian and involved in the coal mining industry. Sherman was incorporated as a village in 1959 with a population of 209 people. John Jerome served as the first village president and held the position until his death 19 years later in 1978. Sherwood Zimmerman was appointed to fill out the term and held the office 9 years until 1987. In April of 1987, Frank Meredith was elected as the Village President and held the position for 20 years until April 2007. Trevor Clatfelter was elected Village President in April 2007 and remains in that position today.
During the 1970’s, Sherman began to grow due to its close proximity to Springfield and Interstate 55. Sherman’s first growth was primarily residential. Sherman continues this growth pattern today and currently has a population of approximately 4,800 people.
Sherman is the home of the Rail Golf Course, even though technically it's address is Springfield. It is a championship 18 hole course which until 2007 hosted the annual Labor Day Rail Charity Golf Classic, the second longest running golf tournament in LPGA history. The event drew thousands of visitors to Sherman annually, and generated nearly two million dollars for local charities.
Sherman is considered a family oriented community with many organized youth activities. The school system is consolidated with the Village of Williamsville, which has a proud history of excellence in education and athletic success.
By AMANDA REAVY
Posted Sep 17, 2008 at 12:01 AM Updated Sep 17, 2008 at 4:11 PM
SHERMAN — Dorothy Johnson has lived most of her 88 years in the modest bungalow her father built on North Street in 1920.
SHERMAN — Dorothy Johnson has lived most of her 88 years in the home her father built in 1920.
From this modest bungalow on North Street in Sherman, Johnson experienced how monumental events of the last century such as Prohibition, the Great Depression and World War II affected life in small-town central Illinois. She was there when Sherman got its first streetlights.
And she has been there to see new home after new home sprout up, causing her once-tiny hometown to swell well past the cluster of six streets known as “old Sherman.”
Johnson is Sherman’s oldest living native, so it’s only fitting that she was selected grand marshal of the parade that will be part of the village’s 150th anniversary celebration this weekend.
With the theme “150 Years of Progress,” the three-day event offers a variety of activities to honor Sherman’s history, its founders and the families, old and new, who have made the village home, Mayor Trevor Clatfelter said.
Sherman has roughly 3,700 residents and is one of the fastest-growing communities in Sangamon County.
“Older people that are gone now would not believe that Sherman’s got this many people and these stoplights. And we’ve got banks — two banks — and our little mini-mall,” Johnson said.
She is delighted to be a part of the festival. The active mother, grandmother and great-grandmother hopes Sherman’s newer families will learn about how the community has changed over the years and what history remains.
“I’ve only been out of this house about three years,” Johnson says of her childhood home. “I got married and moved into Springfield. We weren’t there two or three months and then my husband had to go into the service, and so I (eventually) moved back.”
Johnson last week recalled how Sherman originally took in First, Second, Third, North, South and Main streets, just east of Sherman Boulevard on what’s now the village’s north side.
During the 1920s, Johnson’s father, Gaetano “Joe” Ori, worked in Sherman’s Peabody Coal Mine.
“The town was a lot of Italians, and they all worked at Peabody mine,” Johnson said.
Both of her parents, Joe and Madeline “Mary” Ori, were born in Italy.
When she was a child, Johnson’s family had chickens as well as a pig and a cow for selling milk. Joe Ori would deliver the milk at night, Johnson said.
She and her older brother, also named Joe, attended the old Sherman School on Andrew Road. It consisted of three classrooms.
“We had a nice ball diamond in the back, and after school, we, and even our parents, would go and play ball,” Johnson said.
During warmer months, the children would swim in Fancy Creek. In the winter, they’d toboggan near the creek’s large hill.
“On Halloween, we’d go and turn outhouses over,” she said with a chuckle. “And if anybody had a car out in front or anything, we’d push it a couple blocks away. We was shot at one Halloween. There were a couple men and one shot my brother in the butt.”
Johnson graduated from Williamsville High School in 1939, worked as a housekeeper and then was employed by Sangamo Electric. In 1942, she married her childhood sweetheart, James Johnson, in a double wedding ceremony with her best friend in St. Louis.
Johnson stayed with her parents while her husband served in Italy during World War II. The couple moved in with Johnson’s father after her mother died in 1949, and they raised their children, Judy and Jim, in the family home.
A favorite pastime while Johnson’s children were young was for the family to go to Chick’s Pool Hall after dinner. Johnson said she would visit with the other women while the men and boys played pool.
Run by Carmen “Chick” Polistina, the pool hall served as a community center for the village in the 1950s. Wedding receptions and other gatherings also were held there.
In 1959, Sherman, which by then had 200-some residents, was incorporated as a village. “When they said they were going to incorporate Sherman, we were going to get streetlights and natural gas. We were all tickled to death,” Johnson said.
“Mr. (Leonard) Sapp, he started Lynndale. That was our first subdivision. We didn’t think anything of it. There must have been a few houses over there, but it just kept going and going and going.” (early 1960’s)
The growth hasn’t stopped. Neither has Johnson, now a widow, who stays active, driving to FitClub in Springfield several times a week for her cardiac rehab class and visiting with family and friends in her spare time.
And she still has no plans to leave Sherman.
“This was a good town to grow up in ... We had good times here,” she said.
Amanda Reavy can be reached at 788-1525.
* 1820s – First settlers arrive * 1858 – Village of Sherman established * 1926 – First two-lane highway, Route 66, opens * 1959 – Sherman incorporated as a village * 1970 – Carpenter Park dedicated as a nature preserve south of Sherman * 1974 – The Rail Golf Course opens
Sherman, Illinois: all about it
Elevation: 598 ft (182 m). Population 4,148 (2010). Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Sherman is a village in northern Sangamon County, Illinois.
Settlers arrived in the early 1800s to the area known as Grasshopper (according to a local tale due to the large numbers of grasshoppers living there.
The town was platted by four men Virgil Hickox, Cornelius Flagg, Joseph Ledlie and David Sherman who, in 1858 purchased 80 acres of land belonging to the Wigginton estate. They later sold it to settlers. They were real estate developers along the Chicago & Alton Railroad built through the area at that time.
The name: Sherman
David S. Sherman (1812 - 1871) was one of the four businessmen that bought 80 acres of land and platted the town in 1859. His name was drawn from a hat which held the names of the four partners. So the town was named after him.
Sherman an occupation name means "shearer of woolen garments", it comes from the Anglo-Saxon words "scearra" or "shears" "Mann" or "man".
The town had a large Italian population in the 1900s and most worked in the local coal mine.
Route 66 was aligned through Sherman in 1926 and remained so until it was de-certified in 1977.
According to the 2010 census, Sherman has a total area of 3.235 square miles (8.38 km2), of which 3.19 square miles (8.26 km2) (or 98.61%) is land and 0.045 square miles (0.12 km2) (or 1.39%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,871 people, 962 households, and 771 families residing in the village. The population density was 933.5 people per square mile (359.9/km²). There were 989 housing units at an average density of 321.6 per square mile (124.0/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 97.74% White, 0.31% African American, 0.42% Native American, 1.01% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.03% from other races, and 0.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.52% of the population.
White alone - 3,161 (96.3%) Two or more races - 51 (1.6%) Asian alone - 40 (1.2%) American alone - 22 (0.7%) Hispanic - 8 (0.2%)
There were 962 households out of which 41.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.6% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.8% were non-families. 16.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. An estimated 1.2% of households are same-sex couples. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the village, the population was spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older.
The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $71,393, and the median income for a family was $75,164. Males had a median income of $48,207 versus $32,734 for females. The per capita income for the village was $27,491. None of the families and 3.0% of the population were living below the poverty line, including none under 18 and 12.8% of those 65 or older.
1970 519 148.3% Growth
1980 1,501 189.2% Growth
1990 2,080 38.6% Growth
2000 2,871 38.0% Growth
2010 4,148 44.5% Growth
2014 4,511 8.75% Growth
2016 4,685 Est 3.86% Growth