Near St. Joseph in Champaign County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern
— Looking for Lincoln —
From the late 1840's to 1859, attorney Abraham Lincoln traveled between Danville and Urbana, defending clients at the spring and fall sessions of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. The Bloomington Road, a dirt road between the county seats, had been in use for two decades. Taverns and inns on these muddy roads provided travelers a bed and a place to rest horses. Weather would often slow travel from Urbana to Danville, so overnight stays between the towns were required. One of Abraham Lincoln’s frequent stops was Joseph Kelley’s Tavern, an inn of excellent reputation in a cluster of dwellings at the ford across the Salt Fork. Lincoln would sit in Kelley’s
JOSEPH THORNTON KELLEY was born in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1809, the youngest son of a Revolutionary War veteran. In November 1848, he rented Cyrus Strong’s inn and purchased it the following year. He ran the tavern as a bar, an inn, grocery, and a meeting place that became the nucleus of a town. Kelley was appointed postmaster in May 1851, and the post office was named “Saint Joseph.”
David Davis, Eighth Judicial Circuit judge would often lie on the floor of Kelley’s Tavern, listening to Lincoln’s stories by the fire. Davis was judge on the Eighth Circuit from 1848 until 1862. He managed Lincoln’s rise to the presidency and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1862, where he wrote one of the most important legal decisions, Ex Parte Milligan, in 1866.
Erected 2009 by The Village, Township and Citizens of St. Joseph.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Looking for Lincoln series list.
Location. 40° 5.486′ N, 88° 2.944′ W. Marker is near St. Joseph, Illinois, in Champaign County. Marker is on Homer Lake Road west of County Route 12, on the right when traveling west. Out in the country with limited parking, but well worth the drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Joseph IL 61873, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Beginning of the Lincoln Circuit Trail (approx. 3.7 miles away); On The Bloomington Road / The Clark Neighborhood (approx. 3.7 miles away); Potawatomi Trail of Death (approx. 4.6 miles away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (approx. 5.9 miles away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District / A Friend of Lincoln (approx. 8.3 miles away); a different marker also named Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (approx. 8.4 miles away); Urbana's Lincoln (approx. 8˝ miles away); Lincoln & Photography (approx. 8.6 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Looking for Lincoln. Many resources for the Tracking of Lincoln through History and Illinois. (Submitted on October 29, 2009, 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 October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
3. Travel with Lincoln. Climb into Lincoln’s 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 in the upper right to see these markers in sequence, starting from Springfield. (Submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 28, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,835 times since then and 61 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.