SPRINGFIELD'S SCULPTURES,            Carl and Roberta Volkmann
MONUMENTS, AND PLAQUES              cvolk@aol.com
Oak Ridge Cemetery
Thomas Strawbridge, Jr. was born on February 8, 1798, in the county of Donegal,
Ireland, and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1810.  After living in
Pennsylvania and Ohio for several years, he and his family moved to Sangamon
County in 1828.  He and his father developed the first saddle and harness trade in
the county.  Thomas eventually started farming and bought more than six hundred
acres of land in Woodside Township.  He built a beautiful farm home on the land in
1845 and shared it with his sister Mary and her family.
When Strawbridge died in 1880, Charles Shepherd bought the home at an auction.
 The home remained with the Shepherd family until 1970.  It was then sold to
Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois at Springfield).  In 2007,
the University and the Elijah Iles House Foundation collaborated to restore one of
the oldest surviving frame houses in central Illinois. Funding for the restoration of
the dwelling, now called the Strawbridge-Shepherd House, included grants from
the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois and the National Trust for Historic
The Thomas Strawbridge, Jr. monument in Oak Ridge Cemetery is the work of
famed stone carver, Edward Levanius.  The gravestone consists of twin shafts of
white marble.  A sheaf of wheat, symbolic of life, is carved in the marble.  A broken
tree trunk, two fallen roses, and a wreathed urn, symbols of death, are also
included.   Chairs holding Thomas’ hat and his sister Mary’s cloak rest on either side
of the monument.  A hitching post stands in front.