Lincoln's Friend Johnston
Looking for Lincoln
Quincy lawyer and newspaper editor Andrew Johnston became acquainted with Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois Legislature when Lincoln served as representative and Johnson as assistant clerk. Like Lincoln, a Whig, Johnston was a law partner of Lincoln favorite Archibald Williams of Quincy. They later became more closely associated through the medium of poetry. Johnston called upon Lincoln's law partner, John Todd Stuart, in 1841 to help Johnston's nephew George Pickett win an appointment to West Point. Pickett was admitted, perhaps with Lincoln's influence. Pickett later won fame as the Confederate General who led "Pickett's Charge". at Gettysburg. Johnston left Quincy in the 1850's, returning to Richmond, Virginia. At the end of the Civil War, Johnston made two requests of Lincoln. In early 1865 President Lincoln granted Johnston's appeal to exchange a Confederate relative held as a prisoner. Johnston tried unsuccessfully to see Lincoln while he was in Richmond at the close of the war, learning later that Lincoln had asked about him. In an April 11 letter, Johnston asked Lincoln for a letter of protection for his family.
The Quincy Whig building was situated on the west side of Washington Square. Its second floor offices were often the center of activities for Quincy's Whig, later Republican, partisans and visiting political colleagues. When Andrew Johnston and Nehemiah Bushnell, both lawyers and loyal Whigs, established the newspaper in 1838, they followed the day's journalistic custom to be respectful of manners but to show no such courtesy for the political opposition. The Whig often bitterly opposed the Democratic message of the rival newspaper, The Quincy Herald.
Johnston received several letters from Lincoln from 1846-1847. "Friend Johnston," as Lincoln regularly addressed him, had acted as a literary advisor for others. While exchanging letters about poetry, Lincoln told Johnston he had written some poetry---or "doggerel," as he called it---about a return to Spencer County, Indiana, where he had grown up, where a classmate had become insane, and where his mother and sister were buried. Lincoln agreed to Johnston's request to publish the poetry and noted that he was "not at all displeased." The two poems, "My Childhood Home I see Again" and "The Maniac," appeared in the May 6, 1847, issue of the Quincy Whig. To avoid the risk of ridicule, Lincoln asked Johnston to publish his poetryanonymously. Johnston complied. "The Bear Hunt" was later published in the Richmond Evening News after Johnston returned to Virginia.
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: Arts, Letters, Music • Government & Politics. 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 April 1839.
Location. 39° 55.955′ N, 91° 24.574′ W. Marker is in Quincy, Illinois, in Adams County. Marker is on North 4th Street. Marker is in Washington Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Quincy IL 62301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Mormons in Quincy (within shouting distance of this marker); Permanency of Slavery (within shouting distance of this marker); Spread of Slavery Into The Territories (within shouting distance of this marker); Douglas' Disciple (within shouting distance of this marker); Quincy's Judge Douglas (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln's Quincy (within shouting distance of this marker); Downtown Quincy in 1858 (within shouting distance of this marker); Morality of Slavery (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Quincy.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 8, 2019. It was originally submitted on August 26, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 547 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 26, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.