Macomb in McDonough County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Lincoln Photograph / McDonough Courthouse
Looking for Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln visited the city of Macomb twice in 1858. His first visit lasted from August 25th to August 26th, and it was unexpected. The Randolph House was the place that attracted Abraham Lincoln to Macomb. Lincoln had just spoken in Augusta, and he was actually headed to Freeport to debate Stephen Douglas. Lincoln needed a place to prepare his thoughts for his imminent debate. The Randolph House was just a year old, and it was generally considered to be the best hotel between Chicago and Quincy.
Lincoln rested and gathered his thoughts in Room 31 of the Randolph House for the upcoming historic debate with the Little Giant, Stephen A. Douglas. As soon as Lincoln arrived in town, the courthouse bell was rung, and messengers spread the word that he would speak. Lincoln gave a rather short talk from the veranda of the Randolph House to an "enthusiastic multitude gathered in front of the hotel," inspired by the impromptu welcome.
The Randolph House was one of the grandest hotels in downstate Illinois in the year 1858. The hotel featured nineteenth-century style valet parking. Thus,
On the next morning, August 26, 1858, Abraham Lincoln went for a walk around Macomb with his fellow Republican James K. Magie. At Magie’s insistence, Lincoln had an ambrotype photograph taken at T. P. Pearson’s studio. When confronted with the new camera contraption, Lincoln was reported to have asked, “Well, do you want to take a shot at me with that thing.”
Abraham Lincoln was then shown a mirror so that he could “fix up.” But he declined, saying it would not be much of a likeness if he “fixed up any.” Abraham was famous for his rather casual manner of dress and his unruly shock of dark hair.
The McDonough County Courthouse area looks much as it did in the year 1858. The geographic area is almost the same as that of the early plat map. The cornerstone ceremony for the present McDonough County Courthouse occurred on August 14, 1869. After four years of construction, the McDonough County Courthouse was finally completed in 1872, at a total cost of just over $155,000.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE TALL, UNKEMPT LAWYER FROM SPRINGFIELD, paid a second visit to Macomb on October 26, 1858,
ONE OF THE CROWD members who heard Lincoln speak at the McDonough County Courthouse on October 26, 1858 was a man whose name was W.H. Champ. Mr. Champ had actually been born in a log cabin, which was located just south of the city of Macomb. Champ retained several impressions of that memorable wet day when Lincoln spoke to the crowds gathered in Macomb. According to Mr. Champ, Lincoln appeared to the crowd as a rapid speaker, “who always hit the nail on the head.” The rainy day of Lincoln’s
Erected 2008 by the Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Government & Politics • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists.
Location. 40° 27.512′ N, 90° 40.243′ W. Marker is in Macomb, Illinois, in McDonough County. Marker is on South Side Square (at milepost 0), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Courthouse Square, Macomb IL 61455, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Randolph House Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Randolph House (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War Soldier Monument at Chandler Park (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line).
Regarding Lincoln Photograph / McDonough Courthouse. The caption on the top picture reads: The Randolph House was one of the grandest hotels in downstate
Also see . . . Courtesy: "YouTube" Every Known Photograph of Abraham Lincoln. (Submitted on May 25, 2010.)
Additional keywords. wayside exhibit
Credits. This page was last revised on November 17, 2019. It was originally submitted on March 15, 2010, by Cynthia Fleming of Macomb, Illinois. This page has been viewed 3,153 times since then and 16 times this year. Last updated on October 2, 2012, by James King of San Miguel, California. Photos: 1. submitted on March 15, 2010, by Cynthia Fleming of Macomb, Illinois. 2. submitted on October 25, 2012, by James King of San Miguel, California. 3. submitted on March 15, 2010, by Cynthia Fleming of Macomb, Illinois. 4. submitted on June 8, 2010. 5. submitted on October 30, 2012, by James King of San Miguel, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.