The Survey of Petersburg
Abraham Lincoln laid out the original sixty blocks of Petersburg, Illinois between November 1835 and February 1836. In 1832, Peter Lukins and George Warburton had laid out a few lots for a new town. Lukins and Warburton played a card game, "Old Sledge," to determine whether the town would be named Petersburg or Georgetown. Lukins won. Both partners sold their stakes in Petersburg within a year. The first detailed survey of the town was undertaken by young Sangamon County Deputy Surveyor Abraham Lincoln in 1835. Since Petersburg afforded better access to the Sangamon River than New Salem, cabins and businesses began to appear in Petersburg. new Salem was abandoned. The northwest portion of Sangamon County became Menard County in 1839, with Petersburg as the county seat. Lincoln often stayed in Petersburg while riding circuit during the 1840's and 1850's. In 1858, while speaking in Petersburg, Lincoln stated that his wife "...insists that he will be a Senator and President too. Just think of such a sucker as me as President." Lincoln spoke these words only a few feet away from this familiar spot where he---in debt and without a permanent address---had begun his Petersburg survey.
This Plat of Survey, in Lincoln's own hand, shows the detail of the planned town of Petersburg, Illinois. Lincoln laid a stone at
The first known permanent structure in Petersburg was a cabin erected by Peter Lukins in 1832. Lukins used the cabin as a cobbler's shop, his own residence, and an inn. this cabin, which later became known as the "Bennett Inn," was two blocks south of the start of Lincoln's survey. Lincoln stayed at this cabin while surveying in the Petersburg area. The proprietor was John Bennett, who later built the Menard house across from the Public Square. John's brother, Dr. Richard E. Bennett, later built his residence on the same lot. After surveying during the day, Lincoln would retire to his room and draft his plats. Lincoln used a drawing board, a T-square, and triangles to lay out the future town. He carefully inked lines, labeled streets and used a wadded ball of stale bread as an ink blotter.
Location. 40° 0.609′ N, 89° 50.964′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Illinois, in Menard County. Marker is at the intersection of West Jackson Street and 7th Street on West Jackson Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg IL 62675, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Frackelton State Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln the Surveyor (within shouting distance of this marker); R & D Frackelton General Store (within shouting distance of this marker); Peter McCue (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lincoln in Petersburg (about 300 feet away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (about 400 feet away); Dr. Benjamin Franklin Stephenson (approx. 1.1 miles away); The New Salem Lincoln League (approx. 2.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
Categories. • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 9, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 384 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 9, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.