My Own Times (eBook)
by John Reynolds (Author)
No volume can scarcely be of greater interest and value than one tracing the early growth, and reciting the early history, of a Commonwealth or a Nation. It need not necessarily be a ponderous tome replete with those hard facts which seem to stand against one's vision like a great wall into which is cut the bare, cold records of accomplishment. It may be crudely told. It may be little and modest, and even to the great world quite unknown. But it should glow with the charm surrounding recitals of the every-day experience of those men whose lives are passed in molding the growth, character, and even destiny, of States or Countries, whose true history is thus brightened in detail and heightened by the fascination of reminiscence.
For these reasons perhaps no work, written by any citizen of the West, ever deserved so wide a reading and preservation, and was yet so little known, as "My Own Times", or "Reynolds' History of Illinois", by the late Governor John Reynolds, which has been reclaimed from obscurity, and, with considerable correction and revision, is reproduced in the subjoined pages.
Not only did "My Own Times" possess charming interest from the blunt truthfulness of its author, "Old Ranger", as he was known throughout the West in the earlier political days; from the honest fidelity with which the most trifling incident is related; in the picturesque grouping of personal experiences with profound events; in the fine blending of men, manners, and means that so strikingly predominate in periods of sectional infancy and the swift changes wrought by aggressive civilization; but a more important value obtains in its absolute historical worth.
Governor Reynolds passed nearly half a century in most prominent public life. As a "Ranger" in 1813; as Judge Advocate in 1814; as an Illinois Supreme Court Judge; as a member of the Illinois General Assembly; as Governor of Illinois; as a Representative in Congress for seven years, and never absent from his seat during session; as Illinois Canal Commissioner; and finally, as Speaker of the Illinois House; - and all this from the early part of the present century until beyond its noon; - his strong, aggressive, manly nature and life were most powerful factors in this period of wonderful transition to Illinois and the West.
"My Own Times" thus became an epitome of those days, of their remarkable measures, of their marvelous changes, and a record of many of their great men.