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Shadrach Bond Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Shadrach Bond passes away in 1832.

Shadrach Bond was an American politician.

Bond was born on November 24th, 1773 in Frederick, Maryland. He had various connections to the Illinois Country as it was called at the time. His uncle, also Shadrach Bond, who was a scout with the Illinois Regiment during the American Revolution had told the younger Bond about the fertile land in Illinois and before long the young Bond had moved west to the American Bottom, a flood plain of the Mississippi river in the southern part of Illinois.

Prior to the Illinois Territory was organized in 1808, Bond was elected to the Indiana Territorial Council. After the territory was organized Bond was elected to the United States House of Representatives.

In 1818, when Illinois was admitted to the United States, Bond became the states first Governor. He faced various challenges with the fledgling state. Mostly the state had no money and no infrastructure for roads. Eventually the General Assembly passed a series of bills which Bond signed giving authority for private toll roads to be opened. Later those roads became part of the Illinois highway system. The main road which went from Bond's home town and the state capital Kaskaskia which was on the Mississippi to Shawneetown on the Ohio River became Illinois Route 13.

Bond also wanted to create a canal which went from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River. He received little support for the idea. It was built almost a decade after Bond passed away.

While Governor Bond was concerned with criminal justice system in Illinois. He mostly was concerned with arson, a crime punishable in Illinois at the time with the death penalty. In contrast to this, he got rid of the whipping post and pillory for misdemeanor crimes.

Bond's most controversial act as Governor was to veto a bill to create a non-capitalized State Bank of Illinois. The bank was ready to issue banknotes on the prospect of future economic growth in Illinois. Bond felt this was a dishonest practice and without the money to back the bank it put investors in danger of losing their investment. Despite his veto the bank was created and promptly went bankrupt, confirming Bond's fears.

After Bond's single term in office, he returned to his farm. The state capital was moved to Vandalia and Bond was further removed from the center of politics.

President James Monroe appointed Bond as chief record keeper of the Kaskaskia land office, a critical position for a land-hungry pioneer state such as Illinois.

Bond died on his farm on April 12th, 1832 of pneumonia.

Bond was a member of Temple Lodge No. 26 in Maryland before moving to Illinois. After arriving in Illinois he became a member of Western Star Lodge No. 107 in Kaskaskia. He was elected the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Illinois in 1822.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.