Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CULLOM, Shelby Moore, senator, born in Monticello, Wayne County, Kentucky, 22 November 1829. His father settled in Tazewell County, Illinois, in 1830, where he became prominent among the pioneers of the state, a member of the legislature, and a trusted friend of Abraham Lincoln. The son received a classical education, began the study of law in Springfield, Illinois, in 1853, and as soon as he was admitted to the bar was elected City attorney. He practiced law in Springfield, was a candidate for presidential elector on the Fillmore ticket in 1856, elected to the legislature in 1856 and 1860, chosen speaker in his second term, a member of the war commission that sat at Cairo in 1862, and a member of congress from Illinois from 4 December 1865, till 3 March 1871, representing the Springfield district, which before his election was democratic. During his third term he served as chairman of the committee on territories, conducted an investigation into the question of polygamy in Utah, and secured the passage of a bill for the extirpation of polygamy, which failed to come to a vote in the senate.
In 1872 he returned to the Illinois House of Representatives, was elected speaker in 1873, and in 1874 served another term in the legislature. After his return from Washington he became a banker at Springfield. He was a member of the Republican national convention in 1868, and, as chairman of the Illinois delegation, placed General Grant in nomination at Philadelphia in 1872 and General Logan in 1884. He was elected governor of Illinois in 1876, and reelected in 1880, serving from 8 January 1877, to 5 February 1883, when he resigned, having been chosen U. S. senator as a republican, to succeed David Davis, independent democrat, for the term expiring on 3 March 1889. Mr. Cullom has been prominently connected with the question of railroad regulation. As speaker of the House of Representatives he appointed the committee that drafted the stringent railroad law of Illinois, which was one of the first states to take action on the subject.
During his service of six years as governor it became his duty to appoint the Illinois railroad commissioners, and to see that they secured the enforcement of the law, which was sustained by the courts and practically put in operation during his administration. As senator he has been zealous and active in endeavoring to secure national legislation upon the same subject, and in 1885, as chairman of the senate committee on interstate commerce, conducted an investigation into the question of the regulation of railroad corporations by national legislation. His report upon this subject, submitted to the senate, 18 January 1886, is an elaborate review of the whole subject, and has attracted attention at home and abroad, resulting" in the passage by the senate of the bill that bears his name, which was referred to a conference committee of the two houses.
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