Danville in Vermilion County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
A Friend Forever
Looking for Lincoln
“I appeal to you because I can to no other with so much confidence,” Lincoln said to Doctor William H. Fithian, August 15, 1860. He was asking for Fithian’s assistance in a political matter. After both were elected to the Illinois Legislature in 1834, a friendship developed between the two Whigs, who shared political views and goals. In 1841 Fithian hired Lincoln to represent him in a court case in Vermilion County. In the years following, Lincoln represented Fithian in a number of legal matters, some reaching all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court. Lincoln visited the Doctor in his home in Danville when court was in session. A notable overnight stay at the Fithian home occurred during Lincoln’s 1858 senatorial contest with Stephen Douglas. On his arrival in Danville, a large crowd followed him from the depot to the Doctor’s house, calling on Lincoln to make a few remarks. He complied by climbing out a bedroom window and making a brief speech in his stocking feet from a balcony on the second floor.
Lincoln had no better friend in the county than the “Vermilion County Press”, a weekly newspaper published by James D. Kilpatrick. The paper served as the voice of the Republican party, and from the time Lincoln entered his losing campaign for Senator, until he fell to the bullet fired by John Wilkes Boothe, the “Press” was staunchly behind him.
Doctor William H. Fithian was a real estate investor, mercantile store owner, private banker, farmer, state legislator, volunteer soldier in the Black Hawk War, and volunteer physician during the Civil War. But, primarily, he was a doctor traveling great distances over the Illinois prairie in the early days of statehood. Fithian was Lincoln’s friend, client, and political supporter for more than thirty years. He was the iron man of Whig and Republican politics on the Eastern Illinois prairie. Fithian, one of the oldest practicing physicians in the state, was interviewed by Hiram Beckwith about the changes he had observed during his decades in Illinois. When asked to comment on his friend Lincoln, the Doctor reflected a few moments and then said, “He was just Lincoln,” as if the name told it all - - for generations it has.
Erected 2008 by the Vermilion County Museum.
Topics and series. Communications • Government & Politics • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists.
Location. 40° 7.639′ N, 87° 38.158′ W. Marker is in Danville, Illinois, in Vermilion County. Marker is on Lafayette Street west of North Gilbert Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 116 North Gilbert Street, Danville IL 61832, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dr. William Fithian Home (a few steps from this marker); Abraham Lincoln Delivered an Impromptu Address (within shouting distance of this marker); Historic Millstone (within shouting distance of this marker); Abraham Lincoln (within shouting distance of this marker); Abraham Lincoln at Danville Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (approx. 0.2 miles away); World War I MemorialAircraft in Honor of Chanute Air Force Base (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Danville.
Also see . . .
1. 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 22, 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 October 22, 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 22, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,163 times since then and 2 times this year. Last updated on April 12, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on September 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.