Near St. Joseph in Champaign County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern
—Looking for Lincoln —
From the late 1840's to 1859, attorney Abraham Lincoln traveled between Danville and Urbana, defending clients at the spring and fall sessions of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. The Bloomington Road, a dirt road between the county seats, had been in use for two decades. Taverns and inns on these muddy roads provided travelers a bed and a place to rest horses. Weather would often slow travel from Urbana to Danville, so overnight stays between the towns were required. One of Abraham Lincoln’s frequent stops was Joseph Kelley’s Tavern, an inn of excellent reputation in a cluster of dwellings at the ford across the Salt Fork. Lincoln would sit in Kelley’s Tavern in his favorite chair, a wide hickory rocking chair with a buffalo robe thrown over it. Lincoln and others would tell tales around the fire, William Starbuck and his father remember hearing
JOSEPH THORNTON KELLEY was born in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1809, the youngest son of a Revolutionary War veteran. In November 1848, he rented Cyrus Strong’s inn and purchased it the following year. He ran the tavern as a bar, an inn, grocery, and a meeting place that became the nucleus of a town. Kelley was appointed postmaster in May 1851, and the post office was named “Saint Joseph.”
David Davis, Eighth Judicial Circuit judge would often lie on the floor of Kelley’s Tavern, listening to Lincoln’s stories by the fire. Davis was judge on the Eighth Circuit from 1848 until 1862. He managed Lincoln’s rise to the presidency and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1862, where he wrote one of the most important legal decisions, Ex Parte Milligan, in 1866.
Erected 2009 by The Village, Township and Citizens of St. Joseph.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 40° 5.486′ N, 88° 2.944′ W. Marker is near St. Joseph, Illinois, in Champaign County. Marker is on Homer Lake Touch for map. Out in the country with limited parking, but well worth the drive. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Joseph IL 61873, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Beginning of the Lincoln Circuit Trail (approx. 3.7 miles away); On The Bloomington Road / The Clark Neighborhood (approx. 3.7 miles away); Potawatomi Trail of Death (approx. 4.6 miles away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (approx. 5.9 miles away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District / A Friend of Lincoln (approx. 8.3 miles away); a different marker also named Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (approx. 8.4 miles away); Urbana's Lincoln (approx. 8˝ miles away); Lincoln & Photography (approx. 8.6 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Looking for Lincoln. Many resources for the Tracking of Lincoln through History and Illinois. Aimed at all ages. (Submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
2. Looking for Lincoln Video - on P. B. S. Follow Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "...from Illinois, to Gettysburg, to Washington, D. C., and face to face with people who live with Lincoln every day...". (Submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
3. Travel with Lincoln. (Submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
Categories. • Heroes • Notable Buildings • Notable Persons • Notable Places • Politics •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,677 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on October 29, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.