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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Clinton in Dewitt County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Lincoln's Hat

Looking for Lincoln

 
 
Top Section - - Lincoln's Hat Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 7, 2009
1. Top Section - - Lincoln's Hat Marker
(Click on any photo to see the details.)
Inscription.  A proper Presbyterian Church was under construction in the summer of 1859. A floor was laid, walls, roof, and belfry nearly completed, when “a halt due to lack of funds” occurred. In October 1859, money was urgently needed to complete construction. The view from the building site to the DeWitt County Courthouse on the public square was unobstructed.

Recognizing opportunity, the church ladies held a festival during court week to take maximum advantage of the generosity of visitors in town on legal business. Lincoln, wearing his stovepipe ha, was among those in attendance.

Two church ladies, Mrs. Elizabeth Kent and Miss Roberts, greeted him at the entrance — for there was no door — and politely offered to take Lincoln’s hat. Lincoln declined the offer, stating he had some important papers in it. Instead of handing the hat over, Lincoln placed it high on an unfinished beam, safely out of reach of others.

According to local lore, Lincoln contributed to the fundraising efforts by purchasing a bouquet of violets from a little girl who accepted five dollars for the nosegay.

Lincoln’s
Close-up Photo - - 1859 Clinton Presbyterian Church Building image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 7, 2009
2. Close-up Photo - - 1859 Clinton Presbyterian Church Building
The marker photo text reads: " Lincoln attended a fundraising event at the first Clinton Presbyterian Church, then located at the northwest corner of Madison and Washington Streets. The beam on which Lincoln placed his hat on that fall day in 1859 was utilized in the construction of the current church building, as was the original stone step at this entrance."
hat is an historical icon. At the Presbyterian Church event in October 1859, Lincoln was cautious about letting his hat out of his sight. There was one instance, however, when Lincoln was not so hesitant to part with it.

In August 1864, Lincoln confided the following to his good friend, Ward Hill Lamon, with whom he spent many evenings in DeWitt County during their days on the Eighth Judicial Circuit: “I went to the Soldiers’ Home alone, riding Old Abe... jogging along at a slow gait, immersed in deep thought when suddenly I was aroused by the report of a rifle.

The shot caused Lincoln’s horse to start, and, in Lincoln’s words, “with one reckless bound he unceremoniously separated me from my eight-dollar plug hat.” A soldier on guard duty heard the shot. Upon investigation, he and a companion found Lincoln’s bullet-holed hat. Pictured are President Lincoln and Lamon, both wearing plug hats.
 
Erected 2009 by Clinton Presbyterian Church, Lincoln Heritage of DeWitt County.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionGovernment & Politics. In addition, it is included in the Looking for Lincoln series list.
 
Location. 40° 9.332′ N,
Bottom Section - - Lincoln's Hat Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 7, 2009
3. Bottom Section - - Lincoln's Hat Marker
88° 57.609′ W. Marker is in Clinton, Illinois, in Dewitt County. Marker is on East Johnson Street east of North Center Street, on the left when traveling east. Located at the Johnson Street entry of the Clinton Presbyterian Church. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 402 North Center Street, Clinton IL 61727, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Warner's Memories / Lawyers and Book Lovers (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lincoln and The Law (about 700 feet away); “You can fool all the people part of the time . . .” (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln at Work and Play (approx. 0.2 miles away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (approx. 0.2 miles away); DeWitt County War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln's Friends and Foes (approx. ¼ mile away); Humorous Moments (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Clinton.
 
Also see . . .
1. 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,
Close-up 'Plug Hat' Photo - - From Lower Section image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 7, 2009
4. Close-up 'Plug Hat' Photo - - From Lower Section
starting from Springfield. (Submitted on November 8, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 

2. Looking for Lincoln. Many resources for the Tracking of Lincoln through History and Illinois. Aimed at all ages. (Submitted on November 8, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 

3. 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 November 8, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 
 
Full View - - Lincoln's Hat Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 7, 2009
5. Full View - - Lincoln's Hat Marker
Presbyterian Church - Johnson Street Entry -&- Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 7, 2009
6. Presbyterian Church - Johnson Street Entry -&- Marker
Johnson Street Side of Presbyterian Church image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 7, 2009
7. Johnson Street Side of Presbyterian Church
Presbyterian Church image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 7, 2009
8. Presbyterian Church
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 17, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 8, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,965 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on November 8, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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