The Lincoln Boys in 1854
The Springfield "urban" environment that shaped the childhood of the Lincoln boys was a far cry from the "backwoods wilderness" their father knew as a child. "Pay schools" and academies, railroad trains and fancy carriages, circuses and Sunday schools, hardware stores and drug store candies---this was indeed a different world from the rough frontier of previous generations.
Though more urbane, Springfield was not necessarily a safer environment for children. "Our city is in an extremely filthy condition," complained a resident. "Backyards, necessaries, ponds with putrid waters, can be seen all about." In 1850 (the year Lincoln's four-year-old son Eddie died), one-half of all Springfield deaths were children under five.
Citizens also believed that Springfield had a serious "boy problem." An 8 p.m. curfew prohibited boys from raiding orchards, exploding firecrackers, beating each other, "making a noise or creating any disturbance," or otherwise engaging in "malicious mischief."
Above: This Christmas advertisement from an 1854 Springfield newspaper gave children a powerful incentive to be "good Boys and Girls."
Below: these are the earliest known photos of the Lincoln boys---Tad, about age 2; Willie about age 5; Robert, age 15.
The Lincoln boys in 1854. One-year old Tad was too young to attend activities.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 39° 48.037′ N, 89° 38.885′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Illinois, in Sangamon County. Marker is on E. Adams Street near 6th Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Springfield IL 62701, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Streetscape 1859 (here, next to this marker); Old State Capitol (a few steps from this marker); Lincoln's Springfield (a few steps from this marker); Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices (a few steps from this marker); In Their Springfield Prime (a few steps from this marker); Cook's Hall (a few steps from this marker); Corneau & Diller Drug Store (a few steps from this marker); The Bath & Barber Shop (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
Categories. • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 20, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 323 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 20, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.