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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near St. Joseph in Champaign County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern

 

—Looking for Lincoln —

 
Top Section - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
1. Top Section - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker
(Click any photo to see details.)
Inscription. Kelley’s Tavern was originally called Strong’s Inn after Cyrus Strong, who built a mud-mortar log cabin here in the 1830's. The inn at Strong’s Ford was a stop on the Bloomington or State Road from Danville west to Urbana. Kelley’s Inn was a stop for travelers on the westward migration - - and for local business. Joseph Kelley purchased the cabin from Strong in 1849, expanded it, and also provided a ferry across the Salt Fork. The four-room tavern standing at the spot was demolished in 1914.

From the late 1840's to 1859, attorney Abraham Lincoln traveled between Danville and Urbana, defending clients at the spring and fall sessions of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. The Bloomington Road, a dirt road between the county seats, had been in use for two decades. Taverns and inns on these muddy roads provided travelers a bed and a place to rest horses. Weather would often slow travel from Urbana to Danville, so overnight stays between the towns were required. One of Abraham Lincoln’s frequent stops was Joseph Kelley’s Tavern, an inn of excellent reputation in a cluster of dwellings at the ford across the Salt Fork. Lincoln would sit in Kelley’s Tavern in his favorite chair, a wide hickory rocking chair with a buffalo robe thrown over it. Lincoln and others would tell tales around the fire, William Starbuck and his father remember hearing
Close-up Photo - - Kelley's Tavern image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
2. Close-up Photo - - Kelley's Tavern
Lincoln at the tavern. Judge David Davis observed, ”His presence on the circuit was watched for with interest and never failed to produce joy or hilarity.”

JOSEPH THORNTON KELLEY was born in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1809, the youngest son of a Revolutionary War veteran. In November 1848, he rented Cyrus Strong’s inn and purchased it the following year. He ran the tavern as a bar, an inn, grocery, and a meeting place that became the nucleus of a town. Kelley was appointed postmaster in May 1851, and the post office was named “Saint Joseph.”

David Davis, Eighth Judicial Circuit judge would often lie on the floor of Kelley’s Tavern, listening to Lincoln’s stories by the fire. Davis was judge on the Eighth Circuit from 1848 until 1862. He managed Lincoln’s rise to the presidency and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1862, where he wrote one of the most important legal decisions, Ex Parte Milligan, in 1866.
 
Erected 2009 by The Village, Township and Citizens of St. Joseph.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
 
Location. 40° 5.486′ N, 88° 2.944′ W. Marker is near St. Joseph, Illinois, in Champaign County. Marker is on Homer Lake
Middle Section - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
3. Middle Section - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker
Road west of County Route 12, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Out in the country with limited parking, but well worth the drive. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Joseph IL 61873, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Beginning of the Lincoln Circuit Trail (approx. 3.7 miles away); On The Bloomington Road / The Clark Neighborhood (approx. 3.7 miles away); Potawatomi Trail of Death (approx. 4.6 miles away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (approx. 5.9 miles away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District / A Friend of Lincoln (approx. 8.3 miles away); a different marker also named Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (approx. 8.4 miles away); Urbana's Lincoln (approx. 8.5 miles away); Lincoln & Photography (approx. 8.6 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. Looking for Lincoln. Many resources for the Tracking of Lincoln through History and Illinois. Aimed at all ages. (Submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 

2. Looking for Lincoln Video - on P. B. S. Follow Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "...from Illinois, to Gettysburg, to Washington, D. C., and face to face with people who live with Lincoln every day...". (Submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 

3. Travel with Lincoln.
Bottom Section - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
4. Bottom Section - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker
Climb into Lincoln’s buggy and take a trip with Lincoln and his fellow lawyers on the job traveling Illinois as Circuit Lawyers. See all the Lincoln Circuit Markers (and a surprise or two), in the order of his travels while a member of the Circuit of the Eighth Judicial District (of Illinois) during 1847-1857. Use the “First >>” button in the upper right to see these markers in sequence, starting from Springfield. (Submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 
 
Categories. HeroesNotable BuildingsNotable PersonsNotable PlacesPolitics
 
Close-up Photo - - Joseph Thornton Kelley image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
5. Close-up Photo - - Joseph Thornton Kelley
Close-up Photo - - Judge David Davis image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
6. Close-up Photo - - Judge David Davis
Long Centered View - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
7. Long Centered View - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker
Click on (this and upcoming) photo and check out the background to see what this farmer raises. They came right up to the fence for a friendly petting time. (Best to clean your hands when done.)
Long Right View - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
8. Long Right View - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker
Long Left View - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
9. Long Left View - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker
Full View - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
10. Full View - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker
Looking East - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, October 28, 2009
11. Looking East - - Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,565 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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