Strasburg in Shelby County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Lincoln and Divorce
óLooking for Lincoln ó
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.
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
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.
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. Touch 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 (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 •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 17, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,278 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 17, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. 6. submitted on May 19, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. 7, 8. submitted on May 17, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. 9, 10. submitted on May 19, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.