Zimri Allen (Z.A.) Enos was born in St. Louis on September 29, 1821.1 The Enos family moved to Illinois in 1823. Z.A.’s father, Pascal P. Enos, was a practical land surveyor and civil engineer and became involved in the layout of the town of Calhoun, which was later renamed Springfield and ultimately became the capital of the State of Illinois. Z.A.’s father died when he was eleven years old, leaving to a widowed mother and the children large tracts of land in the Springfield area that were heavily encumbered. The mother apparently worked the family through the difficult times after his father’s passing and provided Z.A. with advanced educational opportunities at Springfield Seminary, the Jesuit University of St. Louis, and the Illinois College of Jacksonville.
Thinking that he wanted to become a surveyor and engineer like his father, Enos focused his studies on mathematics and engineering. However, after leaving school, Enos joined the Springfield law firm of Baker & Bledsoe to study the law. After his admission to the bar, Enos and fellow law student, James Matheny, entered into a partnership to practice law. At that time, the Springfield bar included some of the most prominent names in American legal practice, including Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, Stephen Logan, Lyman Trumbull and others. Presumably, due to the stiff competition, Enos had a tough go at practicing the law, so he left for more lucrative prospects as a land surveyor and engineer.