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

The Survey of Petersburg

Looking for Lincoln

The Survey of Petersburg Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 9, 2012
1. The Survey of Petersburg Marker
Abraham Lincoln laid out the original sixty blocks of Petersburg, Illinois between November 1835 and February 1836. In 1832, Peter Lukins and George Warburton had laid out a few lots for a new town. Lukins and Warburton played a card game, "Old Sledge," to determine whether the town would be named Petersburg or Georgetown. Lukins won. Both partners sold their stakes in Petersburg within a year. The first detailed survey of the town was undertaken by young Sangamon County Deputy Surveyor Abraham Lincoln in 1835. Since Petersburg afforded better access to the Sangamon River than New Salem, cabins and businesses began to appear in Petersburg. new Salem was abandoned. The northwest portion of Sangamon County became Menard County in 1839, with Petersburg as the county seat. Lincoln often stayed in Petersburg while riding circuit during the 1840's and 1850's. In 1858, while speaking in Petersburg, Lincoln stated that his wife "...insists that he will be a Senator and President too. Just think of such a sucker as me as President." Lincoln spoke these words only a few feet away from this familiar spot where he---in debt and
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without a permanent address---had begun his Petersburg survey.

This Plat of Survey, in Lincoln's own hand, shows the detail of the planned town of Petersburg, Illinois. Lincoln laid a stone at this spot to mark the start of the survey. The bronze medallion on this corner commemorates this Lincoln survey Point. The survey began in November 1835, about two months after the death of Ann Rutledge. The survey was interrupted by Lincoln's attendance at the State Legislative session in Vandalia, Illinois during the months of December 1835 and January 1836. Lincoln completed the survey on February 17, 1836 and also surveyed an additional seven blocks, just north of the public square, for John Bennett. The Petersburg streets were later renamed.

The first known permanent structure in Petersburg was a cabin erected by Peter Lukins in 1832. Lukins used the cabin as a cobbler's shop, his own residence, and an inn. this cabin, which later became known as the "Bennett Inn," was two blocks south of the start of Lincoln's survey. Lincoln stayed at this cabin while surveying in the Petersburg area. The proprietor was John Bennett, who later built the Menard house across from the Public Square. John's brother, Dr. Richard E. Bennett, later built his residence on the same lot. After surveying during the day, Lincoln would retire to his room and draft his plats. Lincoln used a drawing

The Survey of Petersburg Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 9, 2012
2. The Survey of Petersburg Marker
board, a T-square, and triangles to lay out the future town. He carefully inked lines, labeled streets and used a wadded ball of stale bread as an ink blotter.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. 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 1836.
Location. 40° 0.609′ N, 89° 50.964′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Illinois, in Menard County. Marker is at the intersection of West Jackson Street and 7th Street on West Jackson Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg IL 62675, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Frackelton State Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln the Surveyor (within shouting distance of this marker); R & D Frackelton General Store (within shouting distance of this marker); Peter McCue (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lincoln in Petersburg (about 300 feet away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (about 400 feet away); Dr. Benjamin Franklin Stephenson (approx. 1.1 miles away); The New Salem Lincoln League (approx. 2.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
Lincoln's plat of Petersburg image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 9, 2012
3. Lincoln's plat of Petersburg
Credits. This page was last revised on August 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 9, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 621 times since then and 65 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 9, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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Nov. 30, 2023