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Strasburg in Shelby County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Lincoln and Divorce

 

óLooking for Lincoln ó

 
Lincoln and Divorce Marker - Left Section image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
1. Lincoln and Divorce Marker - Left Section
(Click any of these photos to see the details.)
Inscription.

Left Section

Abraham Lincoln handled at least 147 divorce cases during his twenty-five years as a lawyer. One in Shelby County also concerned the ownership of land. William Stewardson and Mary Jane Dawson, both English immigrants, married in 1848. She purchased forty-three acres of land with money that she brought into the marriage. After two years, their marriage disintegrated, and William left, moving in with his son from a previous marriage. Mary Jane sold off some of Williamís possessions, buying a forty-acre tract of land. In 1852, Mary Jane hired Lincoln, filing for divorce on the grounds of desertion. William responded that she was impossible to live with and constantly berated him. A jury ruled for Mary Jane and awarded her $50 per year alimony but left open the question of the ownership of the two parcels of land. In another lawsuit the following year, Lincoln continued to represent Mary Jane in order to resolve ownership of the land. The court reduced her alimony to $30, ruled that Mary Jane keep the land purchased with her money, and that she transfer to William the land purchased with his money.

Center Section

The land was situated halfway between Shelbyville and the current town of Strasburg. After the Illinois Supreme Court case, Mary Jane Stewardson sold her forty-three
Lincoln and Divorce Marker - Center Section image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
2. Lincoln and Divorce Marker - Center Section
acres of land to her stepson, William Stewardson, Jr., and moved to Peoria, where she died in 1883. William Stewardson remained in Shelby County, where he died in 1864. William Stewardson, Jr. Continued to accumulate significant amounts of land, and he donated a tract that became the village of Stewardson in 1874.

Right Section

Disappointed in the Shelby County Circuit Courtís decision, Mary Jane Stewardson continued to employ Lincoln and appealed the judgment to the Illinois Supreme Court. Stewardson was one of three Shelby County cases that Lincoln handled in Springfield.. The Supreme Court agreed with the circuit courtís decision, that Mary Jane received a fair settlement. While Mary Jane may have been a difficult person, she understood the value of land in earning an income. Since paper money fluctuated in value wildly and hard money was scarce, land was a valuable commodity in early Illinois. A married woman typically had no rights to buy and sell land because her status as an individual became assumed by the husband upon marriage. As an abandoned wife in this case, Mary Jane was forced to become an independent person, wisely investing in real estate.
 
Erected 2009 by Shelby County Lincoln Coalition.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Lincoln and Divorce Marker - Right Section image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
3. Lincoln and Divorce Marker - Right Section

 
Location. 39° 21.057′ N, 88° 37.039′ W. Marker is in Strasburg, Illinois, in Shelby County. Marker is at the intersection of Commercial Street and Cedar Street, on the right when traveling east on Commercial Street. Click for map. The marker is located at the entrance to Strasburg Park. Marker is in this post office area: Strasburg IL 62465, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Strasburg Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Gene Goodwin Park (approx. 9.9 miles away); Cole Edward Spencer (approx. 9.9 miles away); Traveling the Circuit (approx. 10 miles away); Anthony Thornton (approx. 10 miles away); First Commercial Pick-up Baler (approx. 10 miles away); Lincoln-Thornton Debate / Lincoln Circuit (approx. 10 miles away); Freedom Square (approx. 10 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. Travel with Lincoln ::. Climb into Lincolnís 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
Lincoln and Divorce Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
4. Lincoln and Divorce Marker
in the upper right to see these markers in sequence, starting from Springfield. (Submitted on May 17, 2010, 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 May 17, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 

3. Looking for Lincoln::. Many resources for the Tracking of Lincoln through History and Illinois. Aimed at all ages. (Submitted on May 17, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 
 
Categories. Notable Persons
 
Lincoln and Divorce Marker at Entrance to the Park image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
5. Lincoln and Divorce Marker at Entrance to the Park
The Marker and 1914 Firehouse Bell image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
6. The Marker and 1914 Firehouse Bell
Site Map of Properties in Question image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
7. Site Map of Properties in Question
Property and Divorce Court Papers Displayed on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
8. Property and Divorce Court Papers Displayed on Marker
The adjacent bell tower houses a 1914 Firehouse Bell. image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
9. The adjacent bell tower houses a 1914 Firehouse Bell.
No casting marks were noted on this well built bell.
The 1914 Firehouse Bell Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
10. The 1914 Firehouse Bell Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,232 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.   6. submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.   7, 8. submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.   9, 10. submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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