Pontiac in Livingston County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Lincoln Slept Here
—Looking for Lincoln —
When Abraham Lincoln rode into Pontiac that rainy day, he found few cabins, and those were so scattered and hidden among the clumps of bushes that they were rendered almost invisible. Lincoln stayed overnight in a log cabin built on this riverbank site by C. H. Perry to serve as both store and dwelling. Perry hauled the first stock of goods from Pekin to Pontiac by ox team in 1836. In 1837 first merchant Perry, along with James McKee, who was interested in the water privilege at Pontiac, and large landowner Jesse W. Fell, gave bond as sureties that Henry Weed, and Lucius and Seth Young, proprietors of the town, would fulfill their contract with the county in return for Pontiac being named county seat. The proprietors promised to give $3,000, a block of land two hundred feet square on which to erect the Court House, and an acre of land not more than thirty rods distant from the Court House, on which a jail and a pen for stray domestic animals were to be built. Further more, they were to build a good and substantial wagon bridge across the Vermilion River at this point.
'Photo Text' - Upper Section
Lincoln was in Pontiac May 18 and 19, 1840, for the first term of circuit court in Livingston County. He came on horseback, drenched to the skin by a spring shower. Tall and lanky,
In 1838, C. H. Perry and James McKee built the first sawmill in Pontiac. Perry also kept court records for a time. Sometime later, S. C. Ladd bought Perry’s store stock and entered into a partnership with Willet Gray and purchased McKee’s interest in the sawmill. C. H. Perry then was acting as the capitalist. He brought to Pontiac the first piano, the first “store-carpet” and the first looking-glass. It is recorded in the 1878 ‘History of Livingston County’ that a horse once walked in the open door of Perry’s cabin and stood surveying himself in Perry’s looking-glass all the while swishing flies with his tail. Perry’s piano remained the only musical instrument of its kind in the county until he moved to Iowa and took it with him, and it was many years before its place was filled.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 40° 52.694′ N, 88° 37.796′ W. Marker is in Pontiac, Illinois, in Livingston County. Marker is at the intersection of North Mill Street and Vermilion River Bridge (West Side of Mill Street), on the right when traveling south on North Mill Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: North Mill Street & Vermilion River Bridge, Pontiac IL 61764, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Riverbank Debate (a few steps from this marker); W. W. I War Memorial - Livingston County Illinois (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); W. W. II War Memorial - Livingston County Illinois (about 500 feet away); County Seat Almost Moved (about 600 feet away); Pontiac (about 600 feet away); Desert Storm - War Memorial (about 700 feet away); Livingston County War Memorial (about 700 feet away); Civil War Memorial - Livingston County Illinois (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pontiac.
Also see . . .
1. Travel with Lincoln ::. Climb into Lincoln’s buggy and take a trip with Lincoln and his fellow lawyers on the job traveling Illinois (Submitted on April 11, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
2. Visit Pontiac::. This web link has a number of links to other historic items in Pontiac, Illinois. Informative and very helpful. (Submitted on April 11, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
3. Looking for Lincoln::. Many resources for the Tracking of Lincoln through History and Illinois. Aimed at all ages. (Submitted on April 11, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
4. 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 April 11, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
Categories. • Notable Places •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 11, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 953 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on April 11, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.