C. M. & S. Smith Store
Looking for Lincoln
Shoppers at Clark M. Smith's All-Purpose Store on the South Side of the public square seldom paid cash. Money was scarce; credit accounts were common. Smith's in-laws---the Lincolns---had an account. After her husband lost the Senate race to Stephen Douglas, Mary Lincoln launched herself into a therapeutic spending spree buying silk and fancy trimmings for a new dress. Routine purchases included boots and hats, chickens and eggs, pocket knives and wood, salt for making ice cream, cinnamon and sugar---lots of sugar! At the time sugar was touted as the "Most nourishing substance in nature." Mary Lincoln certainly "nourished" her family. At one point she had charges for thirty-two pounds of regular sugar, six pounds of crushed sugar, and two gallons of syrup. Lincoln usually settled his store account several times a year. But others didn't. The year Lincoln ran for president, Smith announced he would no longer keep accounts for customers. Henceforth his store would be "an exclusively cash and produce business."
Clark M. Smith accompanied Mary to New York City in January 1861 to help her pick fashions that would be socially
As President-elect, Lincoln found it difficult to get away from the press of well-wishers and office-seekers. Desperate to find a place where he could work undisturbed on his important First Inaugural address, he received permission from his brother-in-law to use a back room on the third floor of the store. On the sloping front of a merchant;s desk, hidden away from Springfield's bustling public square, Lincoln drafted the first version of what, in its final form became a plea to our "better angels"---applicable in all times and places"
Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people...We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection..."
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. 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 January 1861.
Location. 39° 48.032′ N, 89° 38.904′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Illinois, in Sangamon County. Marker is on E. Adams Street. Between 5th & 6th Streets. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Springfield IL 62701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Bath & Barber Shop (here, next to this marker);
Credits. This page was last revised on August 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 22, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 551 times since then and 38 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on October 22, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.