Presidents from Illinois

I just read Cecil’s column for today, Would Illinois be better off without Chicago?

I don’t want to comment on upstate and downstate Illinois politics, or even on what is up or down in that wonderful state. I just want comment on one quotation:

That’s referring to Abe Lincoln from Springfield IL, and Barry Obama from Chicago IL. However, there have been three presidents from Illinois (though none actually born in the state) – the first born in Kentucky, the last born in Hawaii, and the other born in Ohio. Yes, Ulysses S. Grant lived in Galena, Illinois, in 1860, before his attention was diverted by events in the southern parts of the U.S., and he was given the command of the 21st Illinois Infantry before being given higher commands. So when he ran for, and was elected as, president in 1868, he was counted as a citizen of Illinois. And that means that Illinois without Chicago gets two presidents.

Three. Ronald Reagan was born in downstate Illinois.

This is often confusing for us, too.

Illinois has long been happy to claim Grant the general. Grant the president, not so much.