Illinois History Minutes

December 9 Illinois History Minute


It’s December 9th, the day that Democrat Augustus French was sworn in as Illinois’ 9th governor in 1846. French was the last Illinois governor to begin his term in December, and the first to take office in January, four years and one month later, when he was re-elected under a new state constitution.

Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on federal corruption charges on this day in 2008, one day before his 52nd birthday. He was subsequently impeached and removed from office, tried and convicted, becoming the fourth Illinois governor to serve time in prison. His federal prison sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump.

R & B singer Jerry Butler was born on this day in 1939 in Mississippi and came to Chicago as a toddler. His musical talents developed in Chicago’s rich gospel and R & B music scene, and he became the original lead singer of the Impressions, which recorded “For My Precious Love”, a song he co-authored, in 1958.  As a solo artist, his records made the charts dozens of times, including “He Will Break Your Heart”, Let It Be Me” and “Only the Strong Survive”. Butler had a second career as a politician, serving as a Cook County Board commissioner from 1983 to 2018.