Pittsfield in Pike County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Pike County's Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was a frequent visitor to Pike County.
He left his judicial circuit and crossed the Illinois River to practice law with many of Pike County's leading attorneys, forming close associations with prominent Whig and Republican Party members from the county. He enjoyed close personal friendships with many Pike County residents. Lincoln campaigned often in the county, including a notable rally with U.S. Senator Lyman Trumball in the 1856 presidential and congressional campaign. He served in the Illinois State Legislature with William Ross and William Grimshaw. His friend Oziah Hatch was Illinois Secretary of State, and Alexander Starne was Illinois State Treasurer. Nowhere was Lincoln's relationships more personal and enjoyable than in Pike County. Among his old friends were Abraham Scholl, who fought in the Indian Wars in Kentucky with the Lincolns, the Shastid Family, Milton Hay, Daniel Gilmer, Reuben Scanland, Aaron tyler, and Charles Philbrick, Lincoln's third private secretary. Lincoln's spirit has become a visible part of Pike County: many homes and buildings associated with his visits still survive and
(Upper Photograph Caption)
John Nicolay and John Hay, who had met and spent much of their boyhood in Pittsfield, were photographed with President Lincoln at Gardner's Gallery in Washington, D.C. on November 8, 1863. John Hay wrote in his diary, "Nico and I immortalized ourselves by having ourselves done in a group with the Prest." Lincoln chose these two men who had lived in Pittsfield to be his private secretaries when he was elected president. In January 1861, a Pike County Republican article stated: "Mr. Lincoln has paid a decided compliment to Pike County, as Mr. Nicolay's home is here, and Mr. Hay gained citizenship by attending school here for a long time."
Plans for this courthouse where Abraham Lincoln appeared before the bar were accepted by the Pike County Board of Supervision on February 5, 1836. The courthouse was finished in 1839 at a cost of $15,000.00. Lincoln worked thirty-four cases between 1839 and 1852 in this courthouse. Six lawyers who tried cases in the old Pike County courthouses became U.S. Senators: Stephen A. Douglas, Orville Hickman Browning, Richard Yates, and William A. Richardson from Illinois; Edward D. Baker from Oregon; and James McDougall from California. On October 1, 1858, Abraham Lincoln gave a two hour speech on the courthouse square. A large crowd gathered
Erected 2009 by Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 39° 36.415′ N, 90° 48.352′ W. Marker is in Pittsfield, Illinois, in Pike County. Marker is at the intersection of Washington Street (U.S. 54) and Madison Street, on the right when traveling west on Washington Street. Marker is located at the southwest corner of the County Courthouse Square. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pittsfield IL 62363, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln's Pike County (here, next to this marker); John G. Nicolay (a few steps from this marker); Commemorating (within shouting distance of this marker); Mansion House Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); In Memory of John Thomson Hodgen, M.D. and Henry Hodgen Mudd, M.D. (within shouting distance of this marker); Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); In Memoriam (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of the Daniel H. Gilmer Home and Law Office. (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pittsfield.
More about this marker. The marker is part of a double-sided interpretive sign with the marker Lincoln's Pike County on the other side. As noted on the marker, this marker / exhibit was made possible through a generous gift from the Findley Family; Lewis Grigsby, Sr. Family; Wanda Hutter; and Kent and Kathy Zimmerman.
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 30, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 357 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 30, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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