Lincoln in Petersburg
After moving to Springfield, Abraham Lincoln would visit the Petersburg area and stay overnight at the Menard House.
When Lincoln was on the Judicial Circuit, he traveled from court to court, often sleeping at the local hotel or tavern. With his original stories, he could "make a cat laugh," according to Bernhardt Wall. At the end of a day of platform speeches on the Menard County Courthouse lawn, numerous well-known lawyers, politicians and local citizens would retire to the Menard House, located across the street, where they would continue their "Platforming" according to historian Henry B. Rankin. The Menard House was "the Great Equalizer" allowing all parties to voice their opinions. As R.D. Miller has stated, "If the old 'Menard House' had the power of speech it could entertain for days and weeks, repeating the unnumbered 'good Ones' that were told when Lincoln, Engle,and other home and imported talent spent an evening at that old time hostelry."
The Menard House was a hotel, barbershop, and bathhouse, built around 1845 across from the Menard County Courthouse. The establishment was originally built by John Bennett and was later sold to Isaac White, the hotel manager. He was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln and helped Lincoln survey the town of Petersburg in 1835 and 1836. After
Edward Laning, grandson of Senator Edward Laning, tells how at the age of twelve the future senator would sneak into the Menard House. Sometimes the proprietor would chase him away, saying, "Ed, you run along. Abe Lincoln's here, and I don't want you to hear the stories he's got to tell." Ed Laning came to Petersburg around 1836. After his wife died in 1897, he married Bertha White, the daughter of Isaac White, the former proprietor of the Menard House. Laning was elected to the State Legislature in 1868 and to the State Senate in 1870. Isaac White was born in Ithaca, New York in 1819. He married and settled in Chandlerville. In 1849 he took a drove of cattle to California, returning with $6,000 in gold. He came to Petersburg and entered business on the west side of the square.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 40° 0.623′ N, 89° 50.895′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Illinois, in Menard County. Marker is at the intersection of 6th Street and East Jackson Street on 6th Street. Touch for map. Northeast corner of intersection. 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. Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln the Surveyor (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Survey of Petersburg (about 300 feet away); The Frackelton State Bank (about 400 feet away); Peter McCue (about 400 feet away); R & D Frackelton General Store (about 500 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. • Industry & Commerce • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 10, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 340 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 10, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.