Stuart and Lincoln Law Office
Looking for Lincoln
Before he moved to Springfield Abraham Lincoln came to the law office of John Todd Stuart to barrow law books.
Henry E. Dummer---Stuart;s partner at the time---recalled that the "uncouth looking" Lincoln said little and seemed timid. Yet when he did talk he was both strong and acute. "He surprised us more and more at every visit," Dummer remembered. In 1837 Lincoln joined Stuart as the junior in a law partnership that lasted four years. At the time, Sangamon County rented the room directly beneath the partners' law office as a courtroom. A trap door between the ceiling and floor connected the rooms, permitting Lincoln to "overhear" a lot. During the Fall 1839 political season, disgruntled Democrats threatened Lincoln's friend Edward Baker with bodily harm during a speech he was delivering in the courthouse. Hearing the commotion, the 30-year-old Lincoln made a sudden, dramatic entrance through the trap door and into the crowd. He threatened to "pitch in" if anyone attacked Baker. No one challenged Lincoln and Baker finished his speech unmolested.
"Hoffman's Row" was considered "a striking and handsome
In Lincoln's world there were few schools in which to study law and politics. For most young men, a mentor was indispensable. Lincoln's first was John Todd Stuart---an educated Kentucky aristocrat who was two years. Lincoln's senior (and a first cousin to Mary Todd, the future Mrs. Lincoln. Stuart met Lincoln as a militia officer during the Black Hawk War, and worked with him as a state legislator in Vandalia. Impressed by Lincoln's demeanor and intelligence, he encouraged Lincoln to study law. He also guided Lincoln into the circles of political leadership. In the 1850s they became politically estranged when Stuart refused to join the antislavery Republican party after the demise of the Whig party.
Erected by State of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency & Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Wedding of the Rose and the Lotus (here, next to this marker); Streetscape 1859 (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln's Last Law Office (within shouting distance of this marker); Joshua Speed's Store (within shouting distance of this marker); Brunwick's Billiard Hall (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Surveyor Presidents (about 300 feet away); Mary Lincoln's Ring (about 400 feet away); Lincoln's Hat (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
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Credits. This page was last revised on October 7, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 6, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 490 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.