Thomas Strawbridge Jr. (1798-1880), born in Ireland, was a prosperous saddler and harness maker in Springfield. He was a generous man: during the Civil War he regularly donated fresh food for Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners at Camp Butler, "refusing to accept a penny of pay." He left much of his estate to Springfield's Home for the Friendless, a refuge for destitute women and children. He was obviously proud of being a progressive farmer, as shown by the illustration of a new windmill in his cow pasture.
The Thomas Strawbridge homestead, built around 1845. This house still stands on the south edge of the University of Illinois at Springfield campus and is currently being restored. This and the following illustrations are from the Illustrated Atlas Map of Sangamon County, Ill. (Chicago: Brink, McCormick and Co., 1874).
Farm residence of Thomas Strawbridge...5 miles south east of Springfield, Sangamon Co., Ill." The tenant's house is shown in the upper left corner. The area was first settled in 1820 by Jesse Southwick (1770-1826), who is buried in a lost family cemetery near the campus grounds. Strawbridge purchased the land in 1841. In 1883 the farm was bought by Charles M. Shepherd, for whom Shepherd Road is named.