Whig Rivals and Friends
Looking for Lincoln
A native of Kentucky, John J. Hardin moved to Jacksonville in 1831 when he was twenty-one. Like other young men of their generation. Hardin and Abraham Lincoln served in the Black Hawk War. Both men were lawyers and Whig politicians who became rivals for leadership of the party. They were fellow members of the Illinois House of Representatives for six years. Hardin may have saved Abraham Lincoln's life in 1842. Lincoln had published a letter making fun of General James Shields, a Democrat and Illinois State Auditor. The General demanded satisfaction, and Lincoln proposed using broadswords. When Hardin learned about the impending duel, he rushed to an island near Alton before the duel could begin and persuaded the men to compromise instead. The following year, in a letter to Hardin, Lincoln joked, "I wish you would measure one of the largest of those swords we took to Alton, and write me the length of it."
John J. Hardin was killed on February 23, 1847, at the battle of Buena Vista in the Mexican War. His funeral in Jacksonville attracted 15,000 mourners, one of the largest gatherings in Illinois before the
John J. Hardin and Mary Todd Lincoln were cousins and friends. Abraham Lincoln became engaged to Mary Todd in 1840, but they decided to call off their engagement on New Year's Day 1841. Abraham and Mary both accepted invitations to a wedding in Jacksonville in late September 1842, without knowing that the other one would be present. John and Sarah Hardin used this wedding as an occasion to become matchmakers. After the ceremony, they gave Mary and Abraham separate invitations to their house on East State Street. Both Abraham and Mary came to the Hardin home without realizing that they would see each other. They talked with one another, reconciled their differences and on November 4, 1842, Abraham and Mary wed.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Entertainment • Government & Politics • War, Mexican-American. 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 February 1831.
Location. 39° 44.058′ N, 90° 13.255′ W. Marker is in Jacksonville, Illinois, in Morgan County
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Civil War Governor (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Greene Vardiman Black (approx. ¼ mile away); MacMurray College (approx. ¼ mile away); Lincoln and Jaquess (approx. ¼ mile away); Potawatami Indians (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Greene Vardiman Black (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lincoln and Grierson (approx. 0.4 miles away); New Method Book Bindery (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jacksonville.
Also see . . . John J. Hardin - Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. (Submitted on July 19, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 19, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 586 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 19, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.