“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Decatur in Macon County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Music Please, Maestro

Looking for Lincoln

Music Please, Maestro Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Pfingsten, June 8, 2012
1. Music Please, Maestro Marker
In December 1849, an unusual event occurred for the lawyers who traveled on the Eighth Circuit. Mrs. Jane Martin Johns had recently moved to Decatur with her husband. She had set up temporary residence in the Macon House when her piano arrived. Unable to locate anyone who could lift it from its wagon, Mrs.Johns asked the proprietor, David Drone, how she could get it moved into the hotel. He replied that, since court was in session, she could ask the lawyers staying at the hotel, after court was adjourned for the day. When the lawyers had arrived, Mr. Krone explained the situation and was greeted with Abraham Lincoln, exclaiming, "Come on Swett [Leonard Swett, a fellow lawyer] you are the next biggest man!" That was Mrs. Johns's first meeting with Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln secured two heavy pieces of wood and helped unload the piano. Later, after the evening meal, Mrs. Johns gave a recital to the crowd that had assembled, playing many of the popular tunes of the era. As the evening came to an end, Mr. Lincoln thanked Mrs. Johns for the wonderful time had by all.

Top Photo
The lot for the lawyers who rode

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the Eighth Judicial Circuit was generally one of bad food, bad weather, and poor accommodations. However, this was not the case when it came to the Macon house hotel in Decatur. The Macon House with its proprietors at the time, Mr. and Mrs. David Drone, was a respite for the lawyers from their usual fare. Whenever the lawyers were in Decatur for court, they all vied to stay at this hotel. It was known throughout the Circuit for its delicious food, clean beds, and genial atmosphere.

Life for the lawyers while traveling on the Eighth Circuit was generally one of tedium. Travel time between county seats was filled with monotony and boredom. Lincoln was not immune to boredom, which he would combat by studying while traveling. During his time on the Circuit, Lincoln had time enough to "nearly master" the six books of Euclidean geometry. After arriving at the county seat, Lincoln would like to spend his free evenings discussing politics and joking with fellow attorneys. Whenever possible, Lincoln would go to any show or concert in the town. One of Lincoln's contemporaries, H. C. Whitney, stated that whenever there was a company called the "Newhall Family" in the town Lincoln would be in attendance since the singer, Mrs. Hillis, was the only woman, besides his wife, "who ever seemed to exhibit any liking for him.?
Topics and series. This historical marker

Play Bill image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Pfingsten, June 8, 2012
2. Play Bill
Bill of the Play
The Burlesque Operetta
The Great Smith, Tragedy of 1613
is listed in this topic list: Arts, Letters, Music. 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 December 1849.
Location. 39° 50.547′ N, 88° 57.174′ W. Marker is in Decatur, Illinois, in Macon County. Marker is at the intersection of North Franklin Street and E. Prairie Ave. on North Franklin Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Decatur IL 62523, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln's Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); Birthplace of the Grand Army of the Republic (within shouting distance of this marker); The Transfer House (within shouting distance of this marker); Finding the Biggest Man (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Railsplitter Candidate (about 500 feet away); Stephen Decatur (about 500 feet away); Wake Up, Lincoln! (about 600 feet away); Choosing a President (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Decatur.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 29, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 512 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 29, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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Apr. 19, 2024