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

Music Please, Maestro

Music Please, Maestro Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 8, 2012
1. Music Please, Maestro Marker
In December 1849, an unusual event occurred for the lawyers who traveled on the Eighth Circuit. Mrs. Jane Martin Johns had recently moved to Decatur with her husband. She had set up temporary residence in the Macon House when her piano arrived. Unable to locate anyone who could lift it from its wagon, Mrs.Johns asked the proprietor, David Drone, how she could get it moved into the hotel. He replied that, since court was in session, she could ask the lawyers staying at the hotel, after court was adjourned for the day. When the lawyers had arrived, Mr. Krone explained the situation and was greeted with Abraham Lincoln, exclaiming, "Come on Swett [Leonard Swett, a fellow lawyer] you are the next biggest man!" That was Mrs. Johns's first meeting with Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln secured two heavy pieces of wood and helped unload the piano. Later, after the evening meal, Mrs. Johns gave a recital to the crowd that had assembled, playing many of the popular tunes of the era. As the evening came to an end, Mr. Lincoln thanked Mrs. Johns for the wonderful time had by all.

Top Photo
The lot for the lawyers who rode the Eighth Judicial Circuit was generally one of bad food, bad weather, and poor accommodations. However, this was not the case when it came to the Macon house hotel in Decatur. The Macon House with

Play Bill image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 8, 2012
2. Play Bill
Bill of the Play
The Burlesque Operetta
The Great Smith, Tragedy of 1613
its proprietors at the time, Mr. and Mrs. David Drone, was a respite for the lawyers from their usual fare. Whenever the lawyers were in Decatur for court, they all vied to stay at this hotel. It was known throughout the Circuit for its delicious food, clean beds, and genial atmosphere.

Life for the lawyers while traveling on the Eighth Circuit was generally one of tedium. Travel time between county seats was filled with monotony and boredom. Lincoln was not immune to boredom, which he would combat by studying while traveling. During his time on the Circuit, Lincoln had time enough to "nearly master" the six books of Euclidean geometry. After arriving at the county seat, Lincoln would like to spend his free evenings discussing politics and joking with fellow attorneys. Whenever possible, Lincoln would go to any show or concert in the town. One of Lincoln's contemporaries, H. C. Whitney, stated that whenever there was a company called the "Newhall Family" in the town Lincoln would be in attendance since the singer, Mrs. Hillis, was the only woman, besides his wife, "who ever seemed to exhibit any liking for him.?
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 39° 50.547′ N, 88° 57.174′ W. Marker is in Decatur, Illinois, in Macon County. Marker is at the intersection of North Franklin Street and E. Prairie Ave. on North Franklin Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Decatur IL 62523, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln's Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); Birthplace of the Grand Army of the Republic (within shouting distance of this marker); The Transfer House (within shouting distance of this marker); The Railsplitter Candidate (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Choosing a President (about 700 feet away); Dedicated to All Veterans (about 800 feet away); Abraham Lincoln's First Political Speech (approx. 0.2 miles away); Let Us All Be United (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Decatur.
Categories. Arts, Letters, Music

Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 256 times since then and 52 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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