Civil War General John Alexander "Black Jack" Logan was born in what is now Murphysboro in 1826. His father, Dr. John Logan was in the center of Illinois politics, giving rise to John A.'s interest there.
He enlisted in the military for the Mexican War in 1846 and, although not involved in direct conflict, served as post quartermaster.
In the 1850's, Logan entered local politics rising to U.S. Congressman from Benton. At the onset of the Civil War, his speech to his constituents in southern Illinois succeeded in that region remaining loyal to the Union, aborting talk of secession.
He volunteered for the War and rose to the rank of Major General, commanding troops in eight major battles including Vicksburg and the Battle of Atlanta.
Following the War, Logan returned to politics, eventually elected to the U.S. Senate. He was the founder of Memorial Day as a National holiday. John A. Logan College is named for the man who saved Raleigh from being burned by Union troops.