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

The Reuben Moore Home

Left Panel Photo, Click for full size
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
1. Left Panel
Left Panel:

“This will certify that the foregoing plot of the town of Farmington laid by me as proprietor is correct.
Witness my hand and seal this 30th day of April 1852.”
J. J. Adams

John Adams laid out this land in Pleasant Grove Township in 1852 hoping to build a town. Lots were available to anyone who could afford them. First named Farmington after Mrs.Adams’ Tennessee birthplace, this name was not officially recognized as there was already a Farmington in Fulton County. Campbell became the official name after Zeno Campbell moved the nearby post office into town shortly after its organization. The town has since been known by both names.

During the 1850s, mail arrived from Charleston three times a week.

Farmington enjoyed its heyday in the 1870s, when it had grown to about 100 residents. It boasted four stores, a carriage shop, blacksmith shop, steam flour mill, school, and two churches. The boom days, however, were short lived. When the railroad passed up Farmington in favor of Jamesville a few miles to the south, local residents moved elsewhere. Today, only a few houses and a church remind passersby of the village.

Center Panel
The Reuben Moore Home
Center Panel Photo, Click for full size
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
2. Center Panel
The Reuben Moore Home
of the houses built in the town of Farmington in the 1950s was the house belonging to Reuben Moore. Moore was a well-to-do landowner involved in farming and land speculation. He and his first wife Mary emigrated to Coles County in 1839. In 1840, he traded 80 acres of land to Thomas Lincoln, which today is Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site. After his wife Mary died in 1855, Reuben married Matilda Johnson Hall, Abraham Lincoln’s stepsister.

The Moore Home is a frame house constructed from rough-sawn 2 x 4 framing, lathe and plaster interior, and clapboard siding. Reuben Moore owned four city lots in Farmington. This included lot numbers 14, 15, 16, and 17, bordered on the east by Main Street, on the west by Washington, and by Jefferson on the north. Many people kept livestock in town so owning several lots was not uncommon. Space was also needed for a kitchen garden and a small orchard. Our concept of space within a town today is much different than that of the 1850s.

In an era when log homes with fireplaces dotted the country-side, the Moore Home represented a more urban style of home. It has plaster walls, clapboard siding, wood burning stoves, and balloon-frame construction. The home consists of four rooms and a loft furnished to show the living conditions of a middle class family after the Civil War. The State of
Right Panel Photo, Click for full size
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
3. Right Panel
The Reuben Moore Home Connection to Abraham Lincoln
The Marriage of Reuben and Matilda
Illinois acquired the Moore Home in 1929. The Civilian Conservation Corps renovated the home in the 1930s. At that time, the original brick foundation piers were replaced with a concrete foundation and the frame was built with a sag to make the house look “old”. Beginning in 1996, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency restored the house to its original appearance, complete with brick foundation, no sagging floor, correctly-sized windows, stenciled walls, and painted exterior.

Right Panel
The Moore Home Connection To Abraham Lincoln
On January 31, 1861, president-elect Abraham Lincoln visited the Moore Home and Coles County for the last time before his inauguration as president of the United States. Sarah Lincoln was staying with her daughter (Matilda Johnston Hall Moore) in Farmington while repairs were being made to the cabin at Goosenest Prairie. Lincoln visited his father’s grave at Shiloh Cemetery while the women of the town “brought their nicest cakes and pies, baked turkeys, and chickens” to the Moore Home. He found upon his return “tables set clear from one end of the house to another,” filled with food for a grand dinner. After dinner, Lincoln bid farewell to his stepmother. She embraced him and said, “My dear boy, I always thought there was something great in you.”
Wide View - - "Moore House" & The Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
4. Wide View - - "Moore House" & The Marker
He returned to Charleston that night in order to catch the train to Springfield the next day.

The Marriage of Reuben and Matilda
Reuben Moore married Matilda Johnston Hall (Abraham Lincoln’s stepsister) on June 19, 1856. There were six children in the family, three from Reuben’s previous marriage and two from Matilda’s. A sixth child, named Giles, was born to Reuben and Matilda in 1856. The marriage of Reuben and Matilda was not a happy one, for when he died in July of 1859, he had all but disowned her. Matilda sued Moore’s estate for her “dower rights” and won title to the house and one third of Moore’s estate. Miles Moore, Reuben’s oldest son, inherited most of the remainder of his father’s property.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civilian Conservation Corps marker series.
Location. 39° 23.753′ N, 88° 12.664′ W. Marker is near Lerna, Illinois, in Coles County. Marker is on Lincoln Highway Road south of Route 150N, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Lerna IL 62440, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Moore House (here, next to this marker); The Last Lincoln Farm (approx. 1.1 miles
Displayed on Left Panel - John Adams Photo, Click for full size
5. Displayed on Left Panel - John Adams
John J. and Martha Adams made a twenty hour day trip from Tennessee to arrive in what is now Pleasant Grove Township, Coles County Illinois in December, 1830. After Martha’s death in 1844, he married Nancy Dryden. In 1852 with the help of surveyor Thomas Lytle, he used part of his property to establish the town of Farmington, officially known as Campbell. Widowed again in 1854, he married Sarah Dryden in 1855. In the 1860’s, J.J., Sarah and some of their children lived in the house still standing on what was Madison Street.
away); Lincoln's Care for His Family (approx. 1.2 miles away); Rally After the Debate / Lincoln in Coles County (approx. 7.1 miles away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (approx. 7.1 miles away); Coles County - - Civil War Memorial (approx. 7.1 miles away); Coles County War Memorial (approx. 7.1 miles away); Lincoln's Last Visit / The Debaters in Mattoon (approx. 10.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lerna.
Categories. Notable BuildingsNotable Places
Site Map of Township - Displayed on Left Panel Photo, Click for full size
6. Site Map of Township - Displayed on Left Panel
White denotes buildings still standing.
1. Moore Home – Built in the 1850s by Reuben Moore. Owned by the Inyart family. • 2. W.H. Halbrook – One of the original houses dating to the 1860s. • 3. Presbyterian Church – The location of the second building, built in 1866. • 4. J.J. Adams – An original house dating to the 1850s or 1860s and owned by the town founder. • 5. Dr. G. Halbrook – Probably where this doctor lived. • 6. Store – May have been run by Halbrook and Reed. • 7. Seminary – Built in 1853, used as a school and church and later a store. • 8. Store – Probably owned by Leauder and Burlingame. • 9. Matilda Moore lived in a log house here by 1869. • 10. Dr. Nelson Freeman – Original house owned by the Freemans from 1863 until they moved to Charleston in 1893. • 11. Methodist Church – Location of church built in 1860, current church dates to 1920s.
Dr. and Mrs. Freeman / Present Day Freeman House - Displayed on Left Panel Photo, Click for full size
7. Dr. and Mrs. Freeman / Present Day Freeman House - Displayed on Left Panel
Dr Nelson S. Freeman, his wife Mary and their children arrived in Farmington in 1856. Their house is still standing at the southern end of the village. He practiced medicine most of his life and served as a Union Army surgeon during the Civil War. In Farmington he held the position of Post Master, Township Trustee and Treasurer and was also a merchant.
Matilda Johnston Hall Moore. Abraham Linoln's Stepsister Photo, Click for full size
8. Matilda Johnston Hall Moore. Abraham Linoln's Stepsister
Photo displayed on center panel.
Layout of House and Yard / The Moore Home Photo, Click for full size
By Al Wolf
9. Layout of House and Yard / The Moore Home
Displayed on center panel.
Layout of house and yard based on archaeological findings.
The Moore Home prior to 1930s restoration.
The Moore Home After 1930s Restoration - Displayed on Center Panel Photo, Click for full size
10. The Moore Home After 1930s Restoration - Displayed on Center Panel
Note the sag in the building as mentioned in marker text.
Photos Displayed on Right Panel Photo, Click for full size
By Al Wolf
11. Photos Displayed on Right Panel
Lincoln saying goodbye to his stepmother on January 31, 1861 (Painting by Lloyd Ostendorf)
Photograph taken in Springfield on January 26, 1861 (Meserve Collection 0-41)
Photo and Sketch Displayed on Right Panel Photo, Click for full size
12. Photo and Sketch Displayed on Right Panel
Sarah Bush Lincoln. 1867
Lincoln departing from Springfield, Illinois to travel to Washington D.C. to assume the presidency (Drawing by Lloyd Ostendorf)
The Moore Home Photo, Click for full size
By Al Wolf, May 15, 2010
13. The Moore Home
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,416 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. 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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