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

Lincoln's Elkhart Connection

Looking for Lincoln

Lincoln's Elkhart Connection Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
1. Lincoln's Elkhart Connection Marker

Elkhart's central location, superb soil and timberland attracted the first settlers in 1818. James Latham and his son, Richard, chose the hill's western slope to settle. Robert Latham, the youngest son, would later play a prominent role in routing the Chicago-Alton Railroad through Elkhart and Lincoln, thus securing and increasing the fortunes of many, including John D. Gillett. Short Horn cattle baron, astute land investor, co-founder and developer of the City of Lincoln, Gillet was a client, supporter, advisor, and friend of Abraham Lincoln, as well as Governor Richard Oglesby's father-in-law. Richard J. Oglesby, Governor of Illinois (elected in 1865, 1872, 1884, as well as United States Senator from 1873-1877), was head of the Republican Party at the Decatur Convention. It was here that Oglesby introduced Abraham Lincoln as the "Railsplitter Candidate." Gillett was a member of the Honorary Body Guard that accompanied Lincoln to the inauguration. Joseph Dalby of Elkhart was represented by the Lincoln-Herndon Law offices in a successful landmark case against the Chicago-Alton R.R.


Lincoln's Elkhart Connection Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
2. Lincoln's Elkhart Connection Marker
Marker is on the left side of the entrance of Elkhart Cemetery.
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Latham families quickly realized the
potential of the area, first building a double cabin in 1818 and planting corn, adding a four-horse mill, and later building the Kentucky House stagecoach stop in 1828, where Abraham Lincoln, David Davis, John Logan, and Stephen Douglas, all riders of the 8th Judicial Circuit, were well known. The Kentucky House, on Edward's Trace, was an important stop on the Springfield to Bloomington Stage Line. It was here, according to Richard Latham, that Lincoln and Douglas first verbally sparred.


With Oglesby as governor, Illinois was the first state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment in February 1865. On receiving word of Lee's surrender, Oglesby headed to Washington, arriving on April 14, in time to be the President's last visitor. Oglesby declined supper and the theater, but hours later, joined the vigil at Lincoln's deathbed. Oglesby headed the funding and dedication of Lincoln's Tomb. Lincoln Park on Chicago's Lakefront, was another Oglesby project. Retiring to Elkhart in 1889, he built "Oglehurst" from the original Latham cabin. Lost to fire, it was replaced by a grander mansion. It was from this home in 1899 that Oglesby's body crossed the bridge on its final journey to the Gillett Chapel. Governor Tanner had Lincoln's burial flag draped on Oglesby's casket and 4,000 mourners attended the funeral,
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including Robert Todd Lincoln.
Erected by Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition and Elkhart Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesRailroads & StreetcarsSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists.
Location. 40° 1.214′ N, 89° 28.295′ W. Marker is near Elkhart, Illinois, in Logan County. Marker is on Chapel Road east of Governor's Dr, on the right when traveling east. Marker is in front of Elkhart Cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8 Governor's Drive, Elkhart IL 62634, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Elkhart Cemetery (a few steps from this marker); Elkhart Public Library (approx. half a mile away); 1917 Krupp K-14 Light Artillery Cannon (approx. half a mile away); Route 66 in Elkhart (approx. half a mile away); Lincoln-Latham-Douglas at the Kentucky House (approx. 0.6 miles away); Heritage Corner (approx. 0.6 miles away); Lincoln With John Dean Gillett (approx. 0.6 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elkhart.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 27, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 150 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 27, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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Mar. 28, 2023