Pontiac in Livingston County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Lincoln Speaks at Church
Looking for Lincoln
the little Presbyterian Church
on the northwest corner of
Livingston and Mill streets on
Although Strevell thought it a most interesting lecture, Augustus Cowan who founded the first abstract company here, wrote his sweetheart: “. . . last night the citizens of Pontiac were favored with a lecture by Hon. Abe Lincoln. . . . He is a “Big Gun” in the political world, but—I think the people generally were disappointed. . . . He was, I thought, decidedly inferior to many a lecturer I heard. . . .“ But, then, Mr. Cowan was a Democrat.
On May 19, 1857 lots were deeded to both the Methodist and Presbyterian churches and a sharp rivalry developed as to which would erect and dedicate Pontiac’s first church building. The Presbyterians won the race, dedicating their church in November that year, about thirty days ahead of the Methodists. Families rented pews as a means of supporting the church. The first Presbyterian service in Pontiac had been held in Buck’s Tavern in 1852, after which services were held several times in the first courthouse. The church officially organized in November 1855, and regular preaching began in the small schoolhouse on the Livingston County Jail grounds. By 1874, the building where Lincoln spoke had become too small for the congregation, and it was sold to
Erected 2009 by The City of Pontiac.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics • Notable Events. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1903.
Location. 40° 52.926′ N, 88° 37.802′ W. Marker is in Pontiac, Illinois, in Livingston County. Marker is on West Livingston Street, on the right when traveling west. Located on the south lawn of the First Presbyterian Church. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 209 West Livingston Street, Pontiac IL 61764, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pontiac City Hall and Fire Station (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Original Route 66 Wishing Well & Sign Countryside, Illinois 1941-2007 (about 500 feet away); Original Washington Street Route 66 Bricks (about 500 feet away); The Bob Waldmire Road Yacht (about 500 feet away); Historic Route 66 Illinois (about 500 feet away); Pontiac, Illinois (about 600 feet away); Lincoln Visits Strevell (about 600 feet away); Livingston County War Memorial (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pontiac.
Also see . . .
1. Visit Pontiac: Attractions. This web link has a number of links to other historic items in Pontiac, Illinois. Informative and very helpful. (Submitted on April 12, 2010, 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 April 12, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
3. Looking for Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area website entry:
Many resources for tracking Lincoln through History and Illinois, for all ages. (Submitted on April 12, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 12, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 906 times since then and 41 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 12, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. 6. submitted on June 8, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on April 12, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.