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

The Shastid House

Looking for Lincoln

The Shastid House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Emily Pursley, December 29, 2018
1. The Shastid House Marker
Inscription.  John G. Shastid moved his family to Pittsfield in 1836 from New Salem, where he had been a neighbor to Abraham Lincoln.

Pittsfield was the county seat, yet there were only six houses here at the time. John bought one of them. Finding the house too small for his family, he built this larger white frame house in the same yard in 1838. John was a farmer who had but three months of formal schooling. Yet he was literate and valued book learning. His grandson recalled that he knew almost the whole New Testament and Fox's Book of Martyrs by heart. John was a man of few words. So it made a deep impression on the family when, on hearing that President Lincoln had been shot, he gathered them about him to utter a deeply felt six syllable prayer pleading for Lincoln's life. Later that day, when a boisterous young man loudly exclaimed his satisfaction that "Old Lincoln is dead," the sixty-seven-year-old Shastid knocked him to the ground in one solid punch that rendered him senseless.

Mother Shastid once asked Lincoln to view the flower garden she kept at the house. Lincoln replied, "I will look at your flowers,
The Shastid House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Emily Pursley, December 19, 2018
2. The Shastid House
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Mother, but I really cannot understand what people see to admire such things. I am somewhat deficient."
On the basis of this story, family members have speculated that Abraham Lincoln must have been colorblind. Dr. Thomas W. Shastid, as a boy, jealously watched Lincoln devour a platter of pigeons. He heard both Lincoln and Stephen Douglas deliver speeches in town. He considered the lion-voiced Douglas to be the better and the high-pitched Lincoln to be the better analyst.

Abraham Lincoln visited the Shastids when in Pittsfield. John's son Tom told of his father returning from hunting with a dozen "wild pigeons." Tom and his siblings waited wide-eyed and hungry for the pigeons to cook. Suddenly, the door burst open, and there stood Lincoln. Mrs. Shastid ushered him to the head of the table and placed the platter of pigeons before him. At first, Lincoln talked vivaciously. Then, he fell completely silent and ate voraciously. One by one, the pigeons disappeared. A gesture from Tom's mother kept the children from calling for pigeon. After a short time, Lincoln, still abstracted, reached out his fork for the last pigeon, took it to his own plate, and began to eat it. At this juncture, little Tom burst into tears and cried: “Abe Lincoln, you're an old hog."
Erected by The Abe Lincoln Project and Looking for
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Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & PoliticsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1836.
Location. 39° 36.55′ N, 90° 48.117′ W. Marker is in Pittsfield, Illinois, in Pike County. Marker is at the intersection of East Jefferson Street and North Illinois Street, on the right when traveling west on East Jefferson Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pittsfield IL 62363, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Star Hotel (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site Of The Free Press Newspaper (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Printer's Devil (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of the Daniel H. Gilmer Home and Law Office. (approx. 0.2 miles away); In Memoriam (approx. ¼ mile away); Veterans Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); In Memory of John Thomson Hodgen, M.D. and Henry Hodgen Mudd, M.D. (approx. ¼ mile away); Commemorating (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pittsfield.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 17, 2019. It was originally submitted on January 14, 2019, by Emily Pursley of Pittsfield, Illinois. This page has been viewed 197 times since then and 53 times this year. Last updated on January 17, 2019, by Emily Pursley of Pittsfield, Illinois. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 14, 2019, by Emily Pursley of Pittsfield, Illinois. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 7, 2022