Traveling to Beardstown
Looking for Lincoln
Travel in Abraham Lincoln's time was time-consuming, dirty, and usually downright uncomfortable. On many of his trips, Lincoln traveled by train to Meredosia. From there he had the choice of a steamboat or a bone-jarring ride in a carriage over what passed for roads. Of course, Lincoln also journeyed to this city and other Cass County communities by horseback. Once in Beardstown, Lincoln usually stayed at one of the local hotels. He was for instance, a guest at the Dunbaugh House on May 6 and 7, 1858, when he defended William Duff Armstrong in what is now known as the Almanac Trial. Lincoln also was a guest at the National Hotel on several occasions, including Aug. 12, 1858, when he delivered a two-hour speech in his bid for the U.S. Senate. It also is likely that he stayed at Thomas Beard's inn and at the Virginia Hotel. According to tradition, Lincoln would spend evenings sitting on the hotel's verandah, sharing stories with local residents while he whittled.
Abraham Lincoln is seen in this image traveling the circuit roads. he passed time on the road by reading on his way to the next court session.
hotels of Abraham Lincoln's time were rather spartan affairs. nevertheless, these early hotels clearly were an improvement over the small inns where travelers not only slept in the same room, but usually in the same bed. The National Hotel and other local hostelries were wood-frame structures that provided private room accommodations. Of course, the local hotels of that time did not have indoor plumbing, although chamber pots were available in each room. According to local historical accounts, during his visits Lincoln would almost always visit a tavern that stood at the corner of State and Second streets. There he could get a meal and enjoy lively conversation. The hotels of Lincoln's time fell victim to fire and the ravages of time. The coming of the railroad of 1870 led to the construction of more substantial brick hotels.
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: Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists.
Location. 40° 1.108′ N, 90° 26.026′ W. Marker is in Beardstown, Illinois
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln Photograph (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lincoln in Beardstown (about 400 feet away); Lincoln and the River (about 400 feet away); Lincoln the Candidate (about 600 feet away); Site of Abraham Lincoln's Speech (about 600 feet away); In Memory of Abraham Lincoln (about 700 feet away); Lincoln the Lawyer (about 700 feet away); Captain Abraham Lincoln (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Beardstown.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 9, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 26, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 452 times since then and 13 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on July 26, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.