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

When the Wagons Rolled


— Looking for Lincoln —

When the Wagons Rolled Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
1. When the Wagons Rolled Marker
Inscription.  One of the first Republican caucuses in Sangamon County was held at Williamsville in 1856; they strengthened their numbers, held meetings, and expressed their vigorous opposition to slavery over the next three years. They referred to the foremost statesman in the land, Stephen Douglas, as "the most unprincipled political demagogue the world ever produced." Abraham Lincoln was their man. The Williamsville Republican Club was formed March 1860 "for the purpose of advocating and extending the principles of the Republican Party and securing the nomination of Abraham Lincoln at the Chicago Convention." By the time Lincoln was nominated for the presidency on May 18, 1860, Williamsville was considered the Republican stronghold of the county.

On August 8, 1860, a great procession of delegations from across the state, estimated to be eight miles long, passed in front of Lincoln's home. One of the most imposing displays came from Williamsville, at 500 strong. Nearly a block long and led by 23 yoke of oxen, it depicted: a log cabin with George W. Constant and Wesley Council representing Lincoln splitting rails; a blacksmith, Mr. Alexander,
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shoeing a Chippewa Indian pony; women spinning and weaving on a wheel and loom; a tinner plying his trade; and a wheelwright making a wheel. The ox team drivers were W.S. Constant and Abraham Van Meter. Isaac Groves, Sr. was captain of the wagons. Disguised as Indians, 32 horsemen accompanied them . "They acted their part well and the deception was complete, many persons thinking they were the genuine aborigines of the plains on a visit to their lost prairie homes," related the Journal. W.F. Constant, member of the Williamsville Wide-Awake Marching Club who was a horseback rider that day, recalled 50 years later that for two months preceding the November 1860 election he and the other Williamsville Republicans did nothing but attend rallies and "whoop-'em-up" for Lincoln.

The Village of Williamsville was named after Colonel John Williams, a pioneer, leading businessman, and prominent citizen of Springfield in its early history. He was associated with nearly every public enterprise of importance in Springfield during his business career. Williams was a close friend to Abraham Lincoln. He was encouraged by Lincoln to charter the First National Bank of Springfield and served as Grand Marshal of the 1860 Republican Rally parade supporting Lincoln's presidential campaign. In 1865, Williams accompanied Lincoln's funeral train from Washington to Springfield, passing
When the Wagons Rolled Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
2. When the Wagons Rolled Marker
Marker is outside the Williamsville Public Library & Museum, on the far right
through Williamsville, where the Village draped a black arch with the words "He Has Fulfilled His Mission." In addition to his contribution to Lincoln's funeral cortege, Williams acted as honorary pall-bearer and served as a member of the Executive Committee that supervised the erection of the Lincoln Tomb.
Erected by Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers. 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 1860.
Location. 39° 57.38′ N, 89° 33.018′ W. Marker is in Williamsville, Illinois, in Sangamon County. Marker is at the intersection of Lester Street and Elm Street, on the left when traveling west on Lester Street. Marker is outside Wiliamsville Public Library & Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 102 South Elm Street, Williamsville IL 62693, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Golden Years (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Williamsville Depot (approx. 0.2 miles away); Illinois Terminal System (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Early American Farming Community (approx. 0.2
Route 66 International Traveler Multi-Directional Sign image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
3. Route 66 International Traveler Multi-Directional Sign
Also on the grounds of Williamsville Public Library & Museum is this sign. It is available to view live on webcam:
miles away); Abraham Lincoln (approx. 5.4 miles away); Elkhart, Illinois (approx. 5.4 miles away); Illinois Remembers POW/MIA (approx. 5.4 miles away); Lincoln With John Dean Gillett (approx. 5.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Williamsville.
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 105 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 27, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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May. 30, 2023