“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)

Lincoln in Petersburg

Looking for Lincoln

Lincoln in Petersburg Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 9, 2012
1. Lincoln in Petersburg Marker
After moving to Springfield, Abraham Lincoln would visit the Petersburg area and stay overnight at the Menard House.
When Lincoln was on the Judicial Circuit, he traveled from court to court, often sleeping at the local hotel or tavern. With his original stories, he could "make a cat laugh," according to Bernhardt Wall. At the end of a day of platform speeches on the Menard County Courthouse lawn, numerous well-known lawyers, politicians and local citizens would retire to the Menard House, located across the street, where they would continue their "Platforming" according to historian Henry B. Rankin. The Menard House was "the Great Equalizer" allowing all parties to voice their opinions. As R.D. Miller has stated, "If the old 'Menard House' had the power of speech it could entertain for days and weeks, repeating the unnumbered 'good Ones' that were told when Lincoln, Engle,and other home and imported talent spent an evening at that old time hostelry."

The Menard House was a hotel, barbershop, and bathhouse, built around 1845 across from the Menard County Courthouse. The establishment was originally

Menard House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 9, 2012
2. Menard House
Photo courtsey of Menard County Historical Society.
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built by John Bennett and was later sold to Isaac White, the hotel manager. He was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln and helped Lincoln survey the town of Petersburg in 1835 and 1836. After the death of his wife Sarah, White sold the Menard House and built a new home at 521 West Jackson Street in Petersburg. As of 2008, that house was still in the Isaac White family. The Menard House was torn down in 1919.

Edward Laning, grandson of Senator Edward Laning, tells how at the age of twelve the future senator would sneak into the Menard House. Sometimes the proprietor would chase him away, saying, "Ed, you run along. Abe Lincoln's here, and I don't want you to hear the stories he's got to tell." Ed Laning came to Petersburg around 1836. After his wife died in 1897, he married Bertha White, the daughter of Isaac White, the former proprietor of the Menard House. Laning was elected to the State Legislature in 1868 and to the State Senate in 1870. Isaac White was born in Ithaca, New York in 1819. He married and settled in Chandlerville. In 1849 he took a drove of cattle to California, returning with $6,000 in gold. He came to Petersburg and entered business on the west side of the square.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & PoliticsIndustry & Commerce

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. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1845.
Location. 40° 0.623′ N, 89° 50.895′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Illinois, in Menard County. Marker is at the intersection of 6th Street and East Jackson Street on 6th Street. Northeast corner of intersection. 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. Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln the Surveyor (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Survey of Petersburg (about 300 feet away); The Frackelton State Bank (about 400 feet away); Peter McCue (about 400 feet away); R & D Frackelton General Store (about 500 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.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 10, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 600 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 10, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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Feb. 4, 2023