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

Captain Abraham Lincoln

Looking for Lincoln

Captain Abraham Lincoln Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 10, 2012
1. Captain Abraham Lincoln Marker
Rejecting a treaty, Black Hawk, a leader of the Sauk and Fox, led his hungry people back into Illinois from Iowa in early 1832, intending to plant corn. Black Hawk also hoped to form an alliance with the Winnebago and Pottawatomie. Alarmed, Gov. John Reynolds issued a call for volunteers. Lincoln was elected captain of his company in the 31st Regiment of Illinois Militia. Twenty-seven years later, Lincoln recalled his election as "a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have had since." Lincoln and his men arrived in Beardstown from New Salem on April 22. While in camp, Lincoln tried to instill a degree of discipline in his rowdy company. He never managed, however, to master the more complicated commands. One famous story recalls how Lincoln realized his men were marching headlong into a fence. There was a gate, but he could not remember the order that would allow them to march two-by-two through it.. Ingeniously, he ordered the men to halt. He then dismissed them, commanding that they reassemble in two minutes on the other side of the fence. The soldiers broke camp on April 29, heading north.


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Lincoln of the Illinois Militia Volunteers had many new responsibilities including discipline and drawing supplies. Accounting for supplies was an old military tradition. Lincoln drew supplies for his men including thirty muskets and thirty bayonets. Quatermaster records show Lincoln returned 26 muskets and many less bayonets. Military issued weapons were valuable and traceable due to serial numbers. Bayonets, often considered fancy knives were not numbered and represented metal which was a rare commodity on the Illinois frontier. No records exist of efforts to hold Lincoln accountable for this loss or discrepancy.

In 1805, the Sauk and Fox tribes ceded fifty million acres in northwestern Illinois for a $1,000 annuity. The tribes were forced into Iowa. However, Black Hawk did not believe land could be sold and felt his people could return to Illinois at will. In 1831 Black Hawk crossed into Illinois to plant corn. Gov. John Reynolds called for a 700-man volunteer army, which assembled at Beardstown and marched to Rock Island. Black Hawk withdrew. A new treaty was signed, stipulating the tribes would not return to Illinois without permission, but the winter hunt of 1831-32 was a failure, and the Iowa prairie had not been broken to allow the planting of corn. Hungry and desperate, the sixty-five-year-old Black Hawk led 450 warriors and 1,500 women and children back

Plaque at site image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 10, 2012
2. Plaque at site
Here Abraham Lincoln was officially elected Captain of his company in the Blackhawk War on April 21, 1832. Same being part of the Fourth Regiment Mounted Volunteers of General Whitesine's Brigade.
into Illinois at Yellow Banks (Oquawka) in early 1832, thus igniting the Black Hawk War.
Erected by State of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency & Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansWars, US Indian. In addition, it is included in the Black Hawk War, the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1858.
Location. 40° 1.282′ N, 90° 25.717′ W. Marker is in Beardstown, Illinois, in Cass County. Marker is at the intersection of Sangamon Street and N. Bay Street on Sangamon Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Beardstown IL 62618, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln and Blackhawk (here, next to this marker); Traveling to Beardstown (approx. 0.3 miles away); Lincoln Photograph (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lincoln and the River (approx. 0.4 miles away); Beardstown Grand Opera House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lincoln in Beardstown (approx. 0.4 miles away); Site of Abraham Lincoln's Speech (approx. 0.4 miles away); In Memory of Abraham Lincoln (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Beardstown.
Schmoldt Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 10, 2012
3. Schmoldt Park
Credits. This page was last revised on October 9, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 21, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,566 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 21, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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Mar. 1, 2024