The Lincoln Boys in 1854
The Springfield "urban" environment that shaped the childhood of the Lincoln boys was a far cry from the "backwoods wilderness" their father knew as a child. "Pay schools" and academies, railroad trains and fancy carriages, circuses and Sunday schools, hardware stores and drug store candies---this was indeed a different world from the rough frontier of previous generations.
Though more urbane, Springfield was not necessarily a safer environment for children. "Our city is in an extremely filthy condition," complained a resident. "Backyards, necessaries, ponds with putrid waters, can be seen all about." In 1850 (the year Lincoln's four-year-old son Eddie died), one-half of all Springfield deaths were children under five.
Citizens also believed that Springfield had a serious "boy problem." An 8 p.m. curfew prohibited boys from raiding orchards, exploding firecrackers, beating each other, "making a noise or creating any disturbance," or otherwise engaging in "malicious mischief."
Above: This Christmas advertisement from an 1854 Springfield newspaper gave children a powerful incentive to be "good Boys and Girls."
Below: these are the earliest known photos of the Lincoln boys---Tad, about age 2; Willie about age 5; Robert, age 15.
The Lincoln boys in 1854. One-year old Tad was too young to attend activities.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 39° 48.037′ N, 89° 38.885′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Illinois, in Sangamon County. Marker is on E. Adams Street near 6th Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Springfield IL 62701, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Streetscape 1859 (here, next to this marker); Old State Capitol (a few steps from this marker); Lincoln's Springfield (a few steps from this marker); Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices (a few steps from this marker); In Their Springfield Prime (a few steps from this marker); Cook's Hall (a few steps from this marker); Corneau & Diller Drug Store (a few steps from this marker); The Bath & Barber Shop (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Springfield.
Categories. • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 263 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.