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

Leaping Lincoln

Looking for Lincoln

— 1840 —

Leaping Lincoln Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 9, 2012
1. Leaping Lincoln Marker
In November 1840 legislators convened in the cramped quarters of the Methodist Church while workers were completing the statehouse a block away. "The House of Representatives was crammed in a room barely large enough for the members to turn round in, having no tables to write upon, or space to move from one part of the house to another," newspapers reported. These conditions added to the confusion Lincoln encountered as leader of the minority Whig party. On December 5, when the Democratic majority was about to pass a measure that threatened the State Bank, Whigs conspired to prevent a legal voting quorum by staying away. Only Lincoln and a few lieutenants remained to observe. Suddenly it became evident that Democrats had rounded up enough members to form a quorum. "Mr. Lincoln came under great excitement," Democrats mocked. Blocked from the door, he "unceremoniously raised the window and jumped out." The Democratic measure passed anyway. An embarrassed Lincoln ever after resented references to what he called that "jumping scape."

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Fellow Whig legislators Joseph Gillespie(left)
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and Asahel Gridley (right) joined Lincoln in leaping from the Methodist Church window in an ill-fated attempt to stop a legislative vote. "We have not learned whether there flying members got hurt," wrote bemused Democrats; Lincoln, they assumed had not "as it was noticed that his legs reached nearly from the window to the ground!" Democratic editors suggested that workers add a third story to the new statehouse "so as to prevent members from jumping out of the windows!....Mr. Lincoln will in (the)future have to climb down the spout!"

No pictures exist of the wood frame Methodist Church that stood on this corner from 1831 to 1854. A visitor described it as "a modest-looking meetinghouse which speaks more for the simple piety of the inhabitants, than the ostentatious taste of the citizens." The state legislature, circuit court, and private schools also used the building. But the old church eventually proved too small. In 1854 members dedicated a new brick building with seating capacity for 500. The graceful $700 spire blew down, however, during a violent storm - "a rebuke from the Lord for the extravagance and pride of the Methodists of Springfield in these latter days," declared the Rev. Peter Cartwright (hence, the "spireless" picture).
Erected by State of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency & Looking
Illustration of the Methodist Church image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 9, 2012
2. Illustration of the Methodist Church
for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionGovernment & Politics. 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 November 1840.
Location. 39° 47.96′ N, 89° 38.953′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Illinois, in Sangamon County. Marker is at the intersection of East Monroe Street and South 5th Street on East Monroe Street. 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. 223 South Fifth Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Fourth and Monroe Streets (within shouting distance of this marker); Virgil Hickox Home (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Republican Wigwams (about 400 feet away); Departure Point of The Donner Party (about 400 feet away); Streetscape 1859 (about 400 feet away); Curran's Jewelry Shop (about 500 feet away); Lincoln's Dentist (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 12, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 2, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,117 times since then and 80 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 2, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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May. 30, 2023