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

The Lincoln Boys in 1854

 
 
The Lincoln Boys in 1854 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 16, 2011
1. The Lincoln Boys in 1854 Marker
Inscription.
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.

The Lincoln Family image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 16, 2011
2. The Lincoln Family
Four-year-old Willie--- considered the bright and gentle mannered---shared his father's tastes and talents. Eddie had died four years earlier, leaving a seven-year gap between 11-year-old Robert and Willie. This contributed to the distance that seemed to separate Robert from the rest of the family. He resented his parents' indulgence of his younger brothers. As the oldest, he paid an emotional price for Lincoln's frequent absences from home. More than the others, he absorbed the aristocratic attitudes of his mother's family, and may have felt that his father was "inferior."
 
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.
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