Site Map


A Long-Range Plan to Brand the First Lincoln Namesake City as the Second City of Abraham Lincoln Statues

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration in Lincoln, Illinois

Abraham Lincoln and the Historic Postville Courthouse,
including a William Maxwell connection to the Postville Courthouse

About Henry Ford and the Postville Courthouse, the Story of the Postville Courthouse Replica,
Tantivy, & the Postville Park Neighborhood in the
Route 66 Era


The Rise of Abraham Lincoln and His History and Heritage in His First Namesake Town,
also the founding of Lincoln College, the plot to steal Lincoln's body, and memories of Lincoln College and the Rustic Tavern-Inn

Introduction to the Social & Economic History of Lincoln, Illinois,
including poetry by William Childress & commentary by Federal Judge Bob Goebel & Illinois Appellate Court Judge Jim Knecht

"Social Consciousness in William Maxwell's Writings Based on Lincoln, Illinois" (an article published in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, winter 2005-06

Peeking Behind the Wizard's Screen: William Maxwell's Literary Art as Revealed by a Study of the Black Characters in Billie Dyer and Other Stories

Introduction to the Railroad & Route 66 Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois

The Living Railroad Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois: on Track as a Symbol of the "Usable Past"


Route 66 Overview Map of Lincoln with 42 Sites, Descriptions, & Photos

The Hensons of Business Route 66

The Wilsons of Business
Route 66
including the Wilson Grocery & Shell Station

Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Lincoln Memorial Park
(former Chautauqua site),
the Historic Cemeteries, & Nearby Sites

Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Salt Creek & Cemetery Hill,
the highway bridges, GM&O bridge, Madigan State Park, the old dam (with photos & Leigh's memoir of "shooting the rapids" over the old dam), & the Ernie Edwards' Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum in Broadwell

The Historic Logan County Courthouse, Past & Present

Route 66 Map with 51 Sites in the Business & Courthouse Square Historic District,
including locations of historical markers
(on the National Register of Historic Places)

Vintage Scenes of the Business & Courthouse Square Historic District

The Foley House:  A Monument to Civic Leadership
(on the National Register of Historic Places)

Agriculture in
the Route 66 Era

Arts & Entertainment Heritage,
including the Lincoln Theatre Roy Rogers' Riders Club of the 1950s

Business Heritage

Cars, Trucks & Gas Stations of the Route 66 Era

including the hometown churches of Author William Maxwell & Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr

Factories, Past and Present

Food Stores of
the Route 66 Era


Hospitals, Past and Present

Hotels & Restaurants of the Railroad & Route 66 Eras

Lincoln Developmental Center
(Lincoln State School & Colony in the Route 66 era), plus
debunking the myth of Lincoln, Illinois, choosing the Asylum over the University of Illinois

Mining Coal, Limestone, & Sand & Gravel; Lincoln Lakes; & Utilities


Museums & Parks, including the Lincoln College Museum and its Abraham Lincoln Collection, plus the Heritage-in-Flight Museum

with Distinction

News Media in the Route 66 Era

The Odd Fellows' Children's Home


Memories of the 1900 Lincoln Community High School,
including Fred Blanford's dramatic account of the lost marble fountain of youth

A Tribute to the Historians and Advocates of Lincoln, Illinois

Watering Holes of the Route 66 Era

The Historic 1953 Centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois

The Festive 2003 Sesqui-centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois,
including photos of LCHS Class of 1960 dignitaries & the Blanfords

Why Did the State Police Raid Lincoln, Illinois, on October 11, 1950?

The Gambling Raids in Lincoln and Logan County, Illinois,
During the Late Route 66 Era (1950-1960)


Pages in this section tell about Leigh Henson's Lincoln years, moving away, revisits, and career:

About Lincoln, Illinois;
This Web Site; & Me

A Tribute to Lincolnite Edward Darold Henson: World War II U.S. Army Veteran of the Battles for Normandy and the Hedgerows; Brittany and Brest; and the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge)

For Remembrance, Understanding, & Fun: Lincoln Community High School Mid-20th-Century Alums' Internet Community
(a Web site and email exchange devoted to collaborative memoir and the sharing of photos related to Lincoln, Illinois)

Leigh Henson's Pilgrimage to Lincoln, Illinois, on
July 12, 2001

Leigh Henson's Review of Dr. Burkhardt's William Maxwell Biography

Leigh Henson's Review of Ernie Edwards' biography, Pig-Hips on Route 66, by William Kaszynski

Leigh Henson's Review of Jan Schumacher's Glimpses of Lincoln, Illinois

Teach Local Authors: Considering the Literature of Lincoln, Illinois

Web Site About
Leigh Henson's Professional Life


Pages in this section are about the writing, memorabilia, and Web sites of other Lincolnites:

A Tribute to Bill and Phyllis Stigall:
Exemplary Faculty of Lincoln College at Mid-Twentieth Century

A Tribute to the Krotzes of Lincoln, Illinois

A Tribute to Robert Wilson (LCHS '46): Author of Young in Illinois, Movies Editor of December Magazine, Friend and Colleague of December Press Publisher Curt Johnson, and Correspondent with William Maxwell

Brad Dye (LCHS '60): His Lincoln, Illinois, Web Site,
including photos of many churches

Dave Armbrust's Memorabilia of Lincoln, Illinois

J. Richard
(JR) Fikuart
(LCHS '65):
he Fikuarts of Lincoln, Illinois, including their connections to the William Maxwell family and three generations of family fun at Lincoln Lakes

Jerry Gibson (LCHS '60): Lincoln, Illinois, Memoirs & Other Stories

Dave Johnson (LCHS '56): His Web Site for the Lincoln Community High School Class of 1956

Sportswriter David Kindred: Memoir of His Grandmother Lena & Her West Side Tavern on Sangamon Street in the Route 66 Era

Judge Jim Knecht
(LCHS '62): Memoir and Short Story, "Other People's Money," Set in Hickey's Billiards on Chicago Street in the Route 66 Era

William A. "Bill" Krueger (LCHS '52): Information for His Books About Murders in Lincoln

Norm Schroeder (LCHS '60): Short Stories

Stan Stringer Writes About His Family, Mark Holland, and Lincoln, Illinois

Thomas Walsh: Anecdotes Relating to This Legendary Attorney from Lincoln by Attorney Fred Blanford & Judge Jim Knecht

Leon Zeter (LCHS '53): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1953
including announcements of LCHS class reunions

(Post yours there.)


Highway Sign of
the Times:

The Route 66
Association of Illinois

The Illinois State Historical Society

Illinois Tourism Site:
Enjoy Illinois



     Email a link to this page to someone who might be interested. Internet Explorer is the only browser that shows this page the way it was designed.  Your computer's settings may alter the display.) Homepage. Last update: 10-22-09.

April 24, 2004: Awarded "Best Web Site of the Year" by the Illinois State Historical Society "superior achievement: serves as a model for the profession and reaches a greater public"

Marquee Lights of the Lincoln Theatre, est. 1923, Lincoln, Illinois

1953 City Centennial Logo

2009 Abraham Lincoln
Bicentennial Logo

2003 City Sesquicentennial Logo

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, Illinois:
Celebrating Abe's 200th Birthday in His First Namesake City,
The First to Live the Legacy

Founding of the Commission

     Formed by official proclamation: "The City of Lincoln Establishes Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission" (ALBCLI), July of 2006 ( This Web page has been developed by Leigh Henson with approval and information from Ron Keller, Co-chair of this Commission.

Endorsements at the National and State Levels

     The re-enactment of the 1858 Abraham Lincoln rally and speech in Lincoln, Illinois, scheduled for October 16, 2008, is endorsed by the [National] Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and by the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

News and Announcements (scroll down for meeting dates, agendas, and minutes)

     April 22, 2009: Article in the Pekin Daily Times (4-16-09) (JPG) about Henson's article in the Lincoln Bicentennial issue of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. (You may have to click on the JPG for a readable size.) Courtesy of Linda Cooper Wolters, Lincoln Community High School Noble Class of 1960.

     March 30, 2009: Access Leigh Henson's review of the special Lincoln Bicentennial issue of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. This double, book-length issue (213 pages) includes his article titled "Lincoln at Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln Rallies Logan County, Illinois, in His First Namesake Town on October 16, 1858." Also, access the cover of this issue, the table of contents, the editor's page, the first two pages of "Lincoln at Lincoln," biographical sketches of the authors, and more information about the Society, including membership application form (PDF: view at 150% for best readability).

     March 8, 2009: Leigh Henson proudly displays the award he received from Main Street Lincoln, IL, with special gratitude to Paul Beaver and Wanda Lee Rohlfs.

     March 5, 2009: Link to Google video publication of the re-enactment of Abraham Lincoln's political rally and speech in his first namesake town on October 16, 1858, the day after the last Lincoln-Douglas Debate in Alton. This re-enactment was held at the original site (west lawn of the Logan County Courthouse) on October 16, 2008 (the sesquicentennial anniversary of the rally). This event was produced by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, Illinois. The re-enactment video was published on Google by Leigh Henson, and this video is the work of his sister-in-law and former student at Pekin Community High School, Caryl Schlicher. Another video version of this event with higher resolution and showing more scenes and providing more production information is available at Main Street Lincoln, 109 South Kickapoo Street, Lincoln, Illinois.

     February 8, 2009: "Lincoln at 100 at Lincoln: The Abraham Lincoln Centennial Celebration (1909) in His First Namesake Town" (PDF). A study of the planners, honorees, other special guests, and speakers at this event provides insight into the social structure, the local Abraham Lincoln heritage, and other culture of this small Midwestern town at the beginning of the 20th century. Access a one-page summary of this chapter (PDF) that appeared in the Lincoln Courier on Feb. 14, 2009. This summary is suitable for printing.

     January 30, 2009: Unveiling of "Lincoln in Lincoln," a large painting of Abraham Lincoln's "monster" rally and speech on the Logan County Courthouse steps, October 16, 1858. For information, access reports of the Courier and and

     January 24, 2009: Schedule of Events for the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Birthday Observance at Postville Courthouse State Historic Site (Feb. 7, 2009) (PDF). Courtesy of Ms. Shirley R. Bartelmay, Coordinator of the Postville Courthouse State Historic Site.

     January 12, 2009: Leigh Henson's tribute: "A Footnote to Paul Beaver's Award as the Courier's Citizen of the Year for 2008" (PDF).

     January 5, 2009: Newspaper reports on plans for the Abraham Lincoln centennial birthday celebration (1909) in his first namesake town (PDF). Reports provided at Leigh Henson's request courtesy of Richard Sumrall, director of the Lincoln Public Library, and employee Joyce Sutz. (Note: the readability of the PDF is reduced because these documents were printed from microfilm--the only way they could be reproduced and published here. Enlarging the PDF file to 200%, however, will help to solve the readability problem.) When you access the above link to the newspaper accounts, be sure to read the article titled "Abe Lincoln Table" in the Lincoln Daily Courier of 2-3-1909.

     November 15, 2008: Leigh Henson's article (13,000+ words) on the research process he conducted as the basis for composing the play script of "Mr. Lincoln Rallies Logan County, Illinois, in 1858" is accepted for publication in the Journal of the Illinois Historical Society (refereed). The article, titled "Lincoln at Lincoln," will appear in a special 2009 issue focusing on the Lincoln bicentennial.

     The Illinois State Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing history research and education. Its Journal is a major print publication and is refereed, meaning that article submissions are sent to professional historians for anonymous review. Articles are accepted or rejected based on these reviews. Subscribers to this journal include professional historians, professors and other teachers, individuals from many other professions and the business community, libraries, and museums.

     Henson offers special thanks to two members of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, Illinois, for their contributions of research cited in the article: Mr. Richard Sumrall, who located U.S. census information indicating that in 1860 Logan County included black residents, and Professor Ron Keller, who located letters written by Attorney Samuel C. Parks in his efforts to get Abraham Lincoln to speak at Lincoln.

     October 29, 2008: Proposal for Lincoln statue in his first namesake city (PDF).

     October 22, 2008: The Abraham Lincoln Republican rally and speech of October 16, 1858, was re-enacted exactly 150 years after the original event and in the same location on the Logan County Courthouse west lawn. As my wife, Pat Hartman, and I traveled to Lincoln on October 15 to participate in the re-enactment, we visited Atlton, Illinois, where the seventh and last Lincoln-Douglas debate had occurred exactly 150 years ago on that October day. Re-enactment of the Alton debate was scheduled for the weekend beginning October 17, 2008 ( At the Alton debate site park on October 15, we found no other visitors--only the statues of the debaters. Access my slideshow of the Alton debate statues at Perhaps some day the citizens of Lincoln and Logan County, Illinois, will see fit to raise enough money to commission an Abraham Lincoln statue to commemorate his first namesake city speech of October 16, 1858.

    By all indications, the 1858 first Lincoln namesake city rally and speech re-enactment was a great success, thanks to the enthusiastic, effective work of countless people directed by Professor Ron Keller and Alderman Wanda Lee Rohlfs. The post-speech rally song sung by Tim Searby and the rousing speech by Professor Brian Messner wonderfully complemented the script I had written.  I was especially gratified to see so many students in attendance, to visit with historian Paul Beaver, and to meet Guy Fraker, Bloomington lawyer and expert on Abraham Lincoln and the Eighth Judicial Circuit that Lincoln and Judge Davis of Bloomington traveled. Counselor Fraker praised the re-enactment when he said the production "nailed it." Access the program of the 1858 Lincoln, Illinois, rally-speech re-enactment (PDF). Access a slideshow of the Lincoln, Illinois, rally-speech re-enactment:

     I was quite pleased to see several LCHS alums, including Pat and Gary Freese. Some came from out of town to experience the re-enactment, including Dave Johnson from Pekin (the Celestial City, where I taught high school English for 30 years) and Jerry Gibson from South Elgin. Read Jerry's letter of appreciation at Other LCHS members of the noble Class of 1960 who attended and who live in Lincoln included Jon Diers and Dave Armbrust. My friend the distinguished Professor Joe Webb (LCHS noble class of 1960 salutatorian) from Earl, North Carolina, wanted to attend, but inauspicious circumstances disallowed it. I was delighted to meet the legendary Lincolnite octogenarian LCHS alum Bill Gossett and his much younger and beautiful, charming bride. Sadly, two hours before the re-enactment my wife and I attended the funeral of my good friend and community history collaborator Lincoln Attorney Fred Blanford, LCHS Class of 1959. At the funeral I saw classmate Jim Benner, a pallbearer. Hometown roots run deep.

     Central Illinois media covered the re-enactment. Professor Brian Messner provides the following link to video coverage:

      The Bloomington Pantagraph's October 17 story is accessible only by purchase, but the online Courier article by Joshua Niziolkiewicz is available at, and coverage by Mike Fak is available at with more LDN photos by Jan Youngquist available at

     September 6, 2008: Central Illinois costume stores for inquiries about renting period costumes (PDF) (courtesy of Richard Sumrall) for the re-enactment of Mr. Lincoln's 1858 namesake town rally-speech.

     August, 2008: Mr. Lincoln's 1858 namesake town rally-speech re-enactment promotional flyer (PDF) developed by Ron Keller with input from others on the Commission. This flyer is sized for full-page printing. Feel free to print and distribute this flyer or email it as an attachment to anyone who might be interested in attending the rally-speech re-enactment.

     August, 2008: Access the complete script of the one-act play titled "Mr. Lincoln Rallies Logan County, Illinois, in 1858" (PDF) that Leigh Henson wrote for his hometown Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

     July, 2008: Leigh Henson's article titled "Max Bachman's Lincolns" (2,000 words) has been accepted for publication in Illinois Heritage, the magazine of the Illinois State Historical Society. Bachman created busts and statues of Abraham Lincoln, including the 7-foot statue of Abraham Lincoln in the rotunda of the Logan County Courthouse (access link for more information and photos). Because of the magazine's publishing schedule, the article will not appear until early in 2009. Yet, the publication will provide publicity for the first Lincoln namesake town and its Lincoln bicentennial celebration.

     Also, completion is near of a more substantial article (13,000 words) explaining the research and composition of the one-act, historical play titled "Mr. Lincoln Rallies Logan County, Illinois, in 1858." The article, which will have a link to this Web page, will be submitted to one of the two major academic journals specializing in Illinois history. These are refereed journals, meaning that publication will depend on review and approval by credentialed experts.

Making History in Lincoln, Illinois, by Re-enacting It (press release)

     On October 16, 2008, at 1:00 p.m., Logan County, Illinois, and its seat of Lincoln--the first namesake town--, will make history by re-enacting their most significant historic political event as part of their Abraham Lincoln bicentennial celebration. The event being re-enacted--for the first time--was a county-wide Republican rally and speech by Abraham Lincoln that he made the very day after the last Lincoln-Douglas debate in Alton. The re-enactment will take place on the west lawn of the Logan County Courthouse--the site of the original rally-speech, attended by 5,000 people from throughout central Illinois, including Springfield and Bloomington.

    There have been many re-enactments of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates, but a search of the Web suggests there has never been a full re-enactment of one of Abraham Lincoln's 1858 political rallies and stump speeches. During the 1858 Senate race, both Lincoln and Douglas spoke in dozens of central Illinois communities--ranging from Oquawka west (on the Mississippi River) to Danville on the eastern side of the state. These rallies and stump speeches occurred before, during, and after the debates. Central Illinois communities were crucial in this campaign because they were home to many former Whigs, whose votes were most in contention. Historians acknowledge these facts but have emphasized the debates and not fully discussed the stump speeches.

     A main reason no such re-enactment has been attempted is the very limited number of accounts of Lincoln's 1858 stump speeches. Newspaper accounts for Lincoln's 1858 political speeches in the larger cities of Chicago, Bloomington, and Springfield are much more detailed than for his rallies and stump speeches in such smaller towns as Lincoln, Illinois. Newspaper accounts of these events in smaller towns are short, either very briefly indicating something Lincoln said or merely describing the audience and its behavior. Another reason no such re-enactment has been attempted is that recruiting and directing a cast of dozens (perhaps hundreds) of people dressed in period costume, some with horse-pulled wagons and carriages--in the center of town--, presents unusual challenges.

     Through research, Leigh Henson, professor emeritus of English at Missouri State University and a native of Lincoln, Illinois, has  created a play script for a re-enactment of Abraham Lincoln's first namesake town rally and speech of 1858 that includes who the audience was, how it behaved, and what Mr. Lincoln might have said, including his interaction with members of the audience.

     When the beardless Mr. Lincoln, age 49, spoke at Lincoln in 1858, he had completed the debates and most of his stump speeches in that campaign and had thus experienced most of the questions and the positive and negative reactions he was likely to encounter from the audience. During the speech in the play, Mr. Lincoln responds to questions and comments from a Democratic spectator, a Republican spectator, and a Whig spectator. The speech combines humorous stories attributed to Lincoln--including jokes intended to "skin" "The Little Giant"-- and the main arguments that Lincoln used against slavery and Douglas.

     People throughout Logan County have been invited to attend the re-enactment in period costume and carry banners with slogans described in the accounts of the event published in the Chicago Press & Tribune, the Springfield Illinois State Journal, and the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph.

     Lincoln--a man with a sizable ego--would have been strongly motivated by this opportunity in his very own namesake town to answer Douglas's speech under a circus tent in Lincoln, Illinois, of September 4th that year--while Mr. Lincoln sat silently in the audience. Abe's re-enactment speech attempts to show him thrusting his rhetorical rapier to puncture and deflate his pompous political rival--a memorable "October surprise!"

     The election results brought Lincoln quite close to the Senate seat he had so long coveted and work for. As Allen C. Guelzo notes, "some of the Whig Belt districts fell to Douglas by maddeningly narrow margins," and an obsolete apportionment gave Democrats an unfair advantage (Lincoln and Douglas, pp. 284--286). In Logan County, the Republicans won "by 141, but lost the representative district in losing Macon County by 216 votes. . ." (King, Lincoln's Manager, p. 342). Mr. Lincoln's 1858 stump speech at Lincoln surely must have given him a measure of satisfaction and proof of his growing rhetorical  powers that would in the next two years advance him to the Presidency.

     Thus, the re-enactment of this event planned for October 16, 2008, in Lincoln, Illinois, on the west lawn of the Logan County Courthouse promises to be an historic event itself; and its entertainment appeal and educational value should inspire more interest in the life, times, and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Elementary, secondary, and college students will attend this event. Access the complete script of the one-act play titled "Mr. Lincoln Rallies Logan County, Illinois, in 1858" (PDF). More about the research and writing of this play is explained later on this page.

Members (current and former)

Elizabeth Davis-Kavelman, Mayor of Lincoln, Illinois, and Commission Co-chair
Ron Keller, Commission Co-chair (; 217-735-5050, ext. 295). Lincoln College Museum Director and member of the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (national) and the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
Bobbi Abbott, former Executive Director of the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce
Shirley Bartelmay, Director of the Postville Courthouse Historic Site
Paul Beaver, Lincoln historian and Professor Emeritus of History, Lincoln College
Darlene Begolka, Logan County Railsplitter Association
Chuck Conzo, co-organizer and spokesman for the Heritage Days Festival
Paul Gleason, Logan County historian and educator
John Hutchinson, President of Lincoln College
Geoff Ladd, Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County
Brian Messner, Professor of History, Lincoln Christian College and Seminary
Erika Nunamaker Holst, research specialist at The Papers of Abraham Lincoln
Charles Ott, veteran Lincoln presenter and honorary Commission member
Keith Ray, President of Lincoln Christian College and Seminary
Wanda Lee Rohlfs, Executive Director of Main Street Lincoln, member of the Lincoln City Council, Ward #4
Richard Sumrall, Director of the Lincoln Public Library

Honorary Commissioners

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin
U.S. Senator Barack Obama
State Senator Bill Brady
State Senator Larry Bomke
State Representative Rich Brauer
State Representative Bill Mitchell
Leigh Henson, Ph.D. in English studies, native Lincolnite historian, and Professor Emeritus of English at Missouri State University, Springfield


Mission, Goals, and Project Ideas


Events Calendar: 2008-2009 Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, Illinois


Lincoln and Logan County Kiosk: Information About the Lincoln Legacy

Tourists Jim and Linda Perry from Rural Pasco, WA, Admire the Lincoln Legacy Kiosk

     The kiosk provides information about Lincoln legacy sites and events in Logan County and was developed by Main Street Lincoln. Funding for the kiosk was obtained from the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission as a result of a grant written by Wanda Lee Rohlfs. See more information at


Meeting Dates, Agendas, and Minutes

     Agenda for the Commission's meeting of Nov. 6, 2008 (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     Agenda for the Commission's meeting of Aug. 14, 2008 (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     Minutes of the meeting of July 10, 2008 (forthcoming, pending approval at the Aug. meeting)

     Minutes of the meeting of June 6, 2008 (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     Minutes of the meeting of May 1, 2008 (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     Agenda for the Commission's meeting of May 1, 2008 (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     Agenda for the Commission's meeting of April 3, 2008 (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     Minutes of the March 6, 2008, meeting of the Commission (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     Painting of Lincoln Speech Will Be Kept Under Wraps

    Minutes of the February 7, 2008, meeting of the Commission (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     Agenda for the Commission's meeting of March 6, 2008, 5 PM at the Lincoln City (PDF) from Ron Keller

     "Lincoln Celebrations Taking Shape" (

    Agenda for the Commission's meeting of February 7, 2008, 5 PM at the Lincoln City Hall (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     Minutes of the January 30, 2008, meeting of the Commission's Committee on the Restaging of the Rally-Speech (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     Minutes of the January 10, 2008, meeting of the Commission (PDF) (from Ron Keller)

     January, 2008: "Panel Adds More Events Leading up to Celebration of Lincoln's 200th Birthday" (

     December 2007: 1. "Tourism Group Will Highlight Lincoln's Old Judicial Circuit" ( and 2. "Towns to Get funding for Abe's 200th in '09:
Logan Tourism Bureau forms Outreach Panel
" (

     November, 2007: Discussion on funding (

     October, 2007: "Local Abraham Lincoln Planners Meet," including information about a special painting to depict Abraham Lincoln speaking in Lincoln, Illinois, on October 16, 1858 (


Accepted Proposals for the Historical Marker to Commemorate Mr. Lincoln's Namesake Town Rally-Speech of October 16, 1858, and the Re-Enactment

    In the fall of 2008, I submitted two proposals to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, Illinois: one proposal attempted to make a case for erecting an historical marker to commemorate Abraham Lincoln's political rally and speech on October 16, 1858 (the day after the last Lincoln-Douglas debate in Alton, Illinois), and the other proposal attempted to make a case for re-enacting that event. Most likely, Abraham Lincoln returned to his first namesake town on October 16, 1858, as a way of answering Douglas's speech there on September 4, 1858, when Mr. Lincoln sat in the audience uninvited to respond. Coming as it did at the conclusion of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Mr. Lincoln's speech of October 16, 1858, in his first namesake town surely was a most moving summary of his main points in the various debates. Access more information about the rally-speech at

     I am an amateur historian; a native of Lincoln, Illinois; and an honorary member of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, Illinois. I am mainly interested in the social and cultural history of Illinois, especially its literary history; the life and times of Abraham Lincoln in Illinois; and the Lincolniana of his first namesake town. I am also professor emeritus of English at Missouri State University (the only university in Missouri with an explicit public affairs mission). At its January 2008 meeting, the Commission indicated its intention to accept these proposals as part of the many activities and events planned for the first Lincoln namesake town's bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

The Need of a Historical Marker for Mr. Lincoln's Rally and Speech of October 16, 1858

     Lincoln, Illinois, needs a marker commemorating Mr. Lincoln's 1858 namesake town speech to correspond to the marker commemorating Douglas's 1858 political speech that was erected there in 1964. The west lawn of the courthouse does have a Lincoln-related, DAR-sponsored monument, but it has nothing to do with Mr. Lincoln's 1858 speech in Lincoln, Illinois.

     Actually, this DAR monument is the least known and understood of all historical markers in the town of Lincoln. This monument is hardly mentioned, if at all, in the local tourism promotional literature. Of all such monuments there, it is the smallest and nearly obscured from street view by evergreen bushes. This monument is an upright granite cube standing at about five feet and featuring a plaque with a raised bust image of Abraham Lincoln. Beneath the raised image is the simple inscription: "Abraham Lincoln traveled this way as he rode the circuit of the Eighth Judicial District . . . 1847--1857. Erected 1921." Curiously, this monument was the work of Henry Bacon, the architect who designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and who nicknamed this monument "the little brother of the great Memorial."

     Access my historical marker essay-proposal published in the Lincoln Courier on 11-17-07. Once the document opens, click it for a larger, more readable presentation.

Mock-up of Proposed 1858 Lincoln Speech Historical Marker

The Need for a Re-Enactment of Mr. Lincoln's 1858 Rally-Speech in His First Namesake Town

    The 1858 rally with Abe's speech was a major political event attended by thousands from throughout central Illinois--truly a "monster" rally, as an event of this magnitude was then called. In 1858, Lincoln, Illinois, was the county seat of Logan County. Most of the re-enactment cast would be locals dressed in period costume to portray dignitaries and ordinary citizens. This dramatization would be based on facts in the published accounts of the rally and speech. There is no known copy of Abe's speech, but a researcher-writer with knowledge of Abraham Lincoln, local history, and playwriting could determine what Mr. Lincoln might have said at that particular time and place.

     Abe's rally attracted groups of supporters from communities throughout Logan County. Before his arrival, these groups paraded in town, chanting their support for a politician who had become well known and well liked in all of these places. When Abe arrived by train from Springfield, he was met by thousands of enthusiastic supporters, a brass band, and a cannon blast.

     The re-enactment would thus give people young and old in such communities as Atlanta, Broadwell, Elkhart, Lincoln, Middletown, and Mt. Pulaski the opportunity to participate in an unprecedented celebration of the Great Man.

     Lincoln's speech would summarize his main points in the great debates and would feature interaction with the audience. This give-and-take was typical of 19th-century American political campaigns. Accordingly, the pageant would have both serious and comic elements, and would vividly bring history to life.

     The rally-speech re-enactment should excite and unite the town and county in a common public affairs purpose. This spectacle could attract many from near and far who would be entertained, educated, and inspired to take more interest in history and the Lincoln legacy. The Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission may have more grant money in 2008 that could be sought specifically for this pageant. The pageant would bring national and international media attention as well as a lot of tourist dollars. DVDs could be made and used later as part of this area's arsenal for promoting heritage tourism.

    The first Lincoln namesake town's Bicentennial Commission motto is "Lincoln, Illinois-- the first city to live the legacy." A central theme of Abe's legacy is striving tirelessly for public service. What better way for Lincoln and Logan County to celebrate the Lincoln legacy of public service than a pageant that would demonstrate extensive civic engagement and stimulate interest in the American political tradition?

     Honoring Abe's legacy in this way would exemplify the mission of the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which "encourages every community and citizen to become involved. Communities are encouraged to learn about their Lincoln stories and explore ways to relate their Lincoln heritage in public events and commemorative activities" (double emphasis mine). Also, this pageant would distinguish this part of Illinois as one of the most dedicated places in the nation to celebrate the Abraham Lincoln heritage in his birth year.

     One of the most important justifications of the proposed re-enactment of the 1858 Abraham Lincoln rally and speech is its lasting educational value. The children who witness this event are likely to remember it always, and this kind of memory can stimulate a life-long interest in history and the Lincoln legacy. I know this to be true because at the age of eleven I witnessed the 1953 centennial celebration of Lincoln, Illinois. I have never forgotten that experience, and the memory of it has helped motivate my interest in the life and times of Abraham Lincoln and the history of his first namesake town and Logan County.

     Besides value as a tool for promoting heritage tourism throughout Logan County, DVD's of this re-enactment would provide an enduring resource to be used in American history classes at every level from grade school through college. The Lincoln-Douglas debates have been re-enacted and filmed, of course, but as far as I know, there has never been a re-enactment of a Lincoln political rally and speech captured on DVD.

     The educational value of the re-enactment as personal experience for the children who participate in it or witness it and for those who see it on DVD in classrooms would surely be enough justification alone for all interested groups to unite in providing base-line funding. What better reason for the City Council of Lincoln, the Logan County Board, and all other service-oriented entities to co-operate with the local Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln in demonstrating a unified commitment to the Lincoln legacy of public service by funding this re-enactment (and make a little history of your own)?

          And quite simply, this re-enactment would be a rompin', stompin' good time for all.

     Publication of the rally re-enactment proposal at Lincoln Daily (12-5-07):

    Publication of the rally re-enactment proposal in the Lincoln Courier (12-5-07). (This item is courtesy of Eva Harris Hill, faithful classmate of Leigh Henson from Jefferson School through high school, 1948--1960).

     Lincoln Daily "Evidential Support and Encouragement to Pursue Re-Enactment of Abraham Lincoln Rally-Speech in Lincoln":

The Writing of "Mr. Lincoln Rallies Logan County, Illinois, in 1858"

     "In making a speech, Mr. Lincoln was the plainest man I ever heard. He was not a speaker but a talker. He talked to jurors and to political gatherings plain, sensible, candid talk, almost as in conversation, no effort whatever in oratory. But his talking had wonderful effects. Honesty, candor, fairness, everything that was convincing, were in his manner and expressions."

John Hill, quoted by Ida M. Tarbell in The Life of Abraham Lincoln

     "What thrilled the people who stood before Abraham Lincoln . . . was the sight of a being who, in all his actions and habits, resembled themselves, gentle as he was strong, fearless as he was honest, who towered above them all in that psychic radiance that penetrates in some mysterious way every fiber of the hearer's consciousness."

Francis Grierson, The Valley of Shadows (recalling Lincoln at the Alton debate)

     In January of 2008, the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, Illinois, accepted the proposals to erect the historical marker and to re-enact the rally-speech. I then continued to research the rally-speech in order to write a full script for the re-enactment. This research and the play are the subject of an article I am writing for submission to an academic journal. My research reveals the circumstances of Abraham Lincoln's namesake town rally and speech:

     Two men were largely responsible for Abraham Lincoln speaking in Lincoln on October 16, 1858: Samuel C. Parks and David Davis. Parks was an attorney in Lincoln who sometimes worked with Abraham Lincoln on local cases. Davis and Lincoln often traveled the Eighth Judicial Circuit together, as Davis was the presiding judge. Parks, who had supported Lincoln in his 1854-55 Senate bid, had written Lincoln on August 9, 1858, to invite him to speak in Lincoln August 29th, two days after the second Lincoln-Douglas debate at Freeport in the far northern part of the state. Parks had asked Lincoln to have William Herndon, Lincoln's Springfield law partner, respond to this invitation, but there is no record of such a reply. Thus, it is unclear why Lincoln did not appear in his namesake town before Douglas did on September 4. Distance and speeches in other towns probably complicated arrangements.

     Davis wrote Lincoln on September 25th, suggesting that Lincoln speak at Lincoln on October 16, the day after the last Lincoln-Douglas debate in Alton. As Davis's biographer Willard King writes, "Davis, suddenly anxious, demanded that Lincoln come to Logan County where he himself was then holding court. Douglas had been there twice, he said, and Lincoln not at all, and the Democrats were making desperate efforts. . . . Davis wrote, 'You must come. . . ; Parks fears this district may be a little doubtful.' Lincoln came and Parks introduced him for a two-hour speech." Then, in 1860 it was Davis who during the Republican National Convention in Chicago successfully managed Lincoln's effort to gain their party's Presidential nomination.

      In April, 2008, I offered this play to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, Illinois, with the understanding that the Commission is free to use the script as it wishes. The re-enactment script presents a one-act play in three scenes. The first two scenes prepare for Mr. Lincoln's speech, and I present the stage directions for those first two scenes here along with the cast.

     Access the complete script of the one-act play titled "Mr. Lincoln Rallies Logan County, Illinois, in 1858" (PDF).


republican delegations in period costume from the Logan County seat of Lincoln and various other Logan county communities, especially Atlanta, Elkhart, and Mt. Pulaski

individual spectators in period costume (men, women, and children) in wagons and carriages, on horseback, and on foot. Spectators include A few black men, women, and children.

thirty-two young ladies dressed in white, riding in carriages

A brass band (includes a bass drum that the drummer beats as cued in the script)

A greeting Committee consisting of local dignitaries who appear at the train depot and on the speaker's platform:

Robert B. Latham, age 40, one of the founders of Lincoln, Illinois, and member of the town board in 1858. Optional first speaker if Mr. Latham has laryngitis is Mrs. Robert B. Latham, age 22 (or, a Present-Day Narrator may be the first speaker).

Samuel C. Parks, age 38

John d. gillett, age 39, a founding father of Lincoln, Illinois. He is accompanied by his oldest daughter, Emma Susan, age 13, who sits next to her father on the platform during the speech. She could be one of the 32 young ladies dressed in white.

William Walker, Republican candidate for the Illinois state legislature and supporter of Abraham Lincoln

E. Bowman, president of the town board (1858--59)

Optional First Speakers: Robert Latham, Mrs. Latham, or a present-day Narrator

Abraham Lincoln, age 49

 A black male wagon driver

A school choir, Adult Choir, or soloist

 A Republican Spectator group of at least 3 (the more, the better; for vocal effects in Scenes 2 and 3, and separate from the Republican delegations from various towns)

 A Democratic Spectator group of at least 3 (the more, the better; for vocal effects in Scenes 2 and 3)

A vocal Democratic spectator

 A vocal republican spectator

 A vocal whig spectator

 Notes: The Democratic spectator, the republican spectator, and the whig spectator play extremely important roles in this re-enactment, so the actors who portray them should have microphones to ensure they can be heard by the entire audience.

Scene 1: Parading and Mr. Lincoln's Arrival

     The re-enactment takes place in the present-day Lincoln and Logan County Courthouse Historic Square District. Prior to Mr. Lincoln's arrival, parading occurs around the courthouse square and other streets near the train depot. Parade participants in period costumes include

  • Various individual spectators on horseback, in wagons and carriages, and on foot;

  • A brass band;

  • thirty-two young ladies dressed in white, riding in carriages;

  • Republican delegations from the town of Lincoln and other Logan County communities;

  • A separate Republican Spectator group for vocal effects in Scenes 2 and 3; and

  • A Democratic spectator group for vocal effects in Scenes 2 and 3.

     The brass band, including a bass drum, entertains with such period tunes as "Yankee Doodle, "Hail Columbia, Happy Land," and "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean." Members of the delegations and other political groups carry banners with various slogans: "Lincoln and Clay--one in principle: firm friends and true Republicans," Lincoln and Trumbull--the champions of Freedom," "Hon. Abram Lincoln--the Pride of Illinois," "Hon. Abram Lincoln--the choice of the Germans." Thirty-two young ladies dressed in white, representing the 32 states in 1858, ride in horse-drawn carriages. Other citizens in period costume march or ride on horseback or in wagons and carriages.

     The present-day Amtrak depot in Lincoln, Illinois, is just east of the railroad tracks, "kitty corner" from the actual train depot where Mr. Lincoln would have arrived in 1858. The original depot was located near the intersection of Broadway and Sangamon Streets, just west of the railroad tracks. The original depot is also where Mr. Lincoln's train paused when he traveled to Chicago on November 21, 1860, to meet his Vice President-elect, Hannibal Hamlin, for the first time. During this brief pause, Mr. Lincoln spoke only a short paragraph in which he explained why he would not make a substantive speech at that time. On May 3, 1865, the funeral train of President Lincoln briefly stopped near the depot on its way to Springfield.

19th-Century Train Depot in Front of the Spitly House Hotel,
Broadway and Sangamon
Streets in Lincoln, IL
Undated photo from Paul Beaver, History of Logan County 1982, p. 6.

Present-Day Early 20th-Century Spanish-Design Train Depot
at the Corner of Broadway and
Chicago Streets in Lincoln, IL

Photo courtesy of Leigh Henson

    As the time for Mr. Lincoln's arrival approaches, many of the parade participants converge at the present-day Lincoln Amtrak depot, located at the intersection of Broadway and Chicago Streets. Mr. Lincoln might arrive by train from Springfield, or he could emerge from the depot at the appointed time. Mr. Lincoln arrived at 12:00 noon (Pantagraph, October 18; Illinois State Journal, October 18). The train he was on consisted of 13 cars (Pantagraph). The cars were completely filled, with people of the tops of cars (Illinois State Journal). Mr. Lincoln "was greeted with hearty cheers from the assembled multitude" (Illinois State Journal). He was also greeted with a cannon blast (Tribune) and welcomed by a greeting committee of local dignitaries, including Samuel C. Parks, his local law associate who later introduces him.

     The brass band leads the procession east on Broadway Street to the courthouse as Mr. Lincoln and the Greeting committee follow. Mr. Lincoln rides in a horse-drawn wagon so the crowd has a better view of him than if he were on foot. The wagon is driven by a black male. (At times during the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln did ride in a wagon in the parades that preceded the speeches.)

Scene 2: Welcome and S.C. Parks's Introduction of Mr. Lincoln


     Scenes 2 and 3, in which Mr. Lincoln is introduced and delivers his speech, take place on the west side of the 1905, present-day Logan County Courthouse, facing Kickapoo Street. That site was the front area of the 1858 Logan County Courthouse, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his speech on October 16, 1858.

1858 Logan County Courthouse, Entrance Facing West
From Paul Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial History, p. 18.


     Below, in the photo of the west side of the Logan County Courthouse, the smaller, top box indicates the area of the low stage and podium, and the other box indicates an area in front of the stage that needs to be kept open for the Republican and Democratic spectators to step into as they speak so the crowd can see and hear them.

1905 Logan County Courthouse, Facing West with Kickapoo Street in Foreground
Photo courtesy of Leigh Henson


     A stage platform with speaker's stand is constructed in front of the steps on the west side of the Logan County Courthouse. This platform has plenty of room for the members of the Greeting Committee to be seated on either side of the podium in full view of the audience. Plenty of room has been roped off in front of the platform so that the Democratic Spectator, Whig Spectator, and Republican Spectator can step forth from the front of the crowd to make their comments or ask their questions of the speakers. Room has also been made on one side or the other of the platform near the area of the crowd for the choir. The brass band occupies the corresponding other side of the platform. Room front and center of the spectator area has been reserved for the Republican and democratic groups, whose applause-cheering, hissing-booing throughout the play are important to the effectiveness of its drama and entertainment.


     Mr. (or Mrs.) Latham (or a present-day narrator) welcomes the audience, identifies the guest speaker, and introduces a school choir (or soloist), which (who) sings "The Star-Spangled Banner." During the 19th century, “The Star-Spangled Banner” became one of the nation’s best-loved patriotic songs (Encyclopedia Smithsonian Web page: "Star-Spangled Banner and the War of 1812").


     After the members of the Greeting committee have been introduced and a summary given of Mr. Lincoln's role in the founding of his first namesake town, the first speaker calls on Samuel c. Parks to introduce Mr. Lincoln.  Parks's introduction explains why Mr. Lincoln resumed his political career in 1854 and provides key background that both the historical and contemporary audiences would need to understand Mr. Lincoln's speech. The Democratic Spectator is used to add drama and humor during this introduction.

Scene 3: Mr. Lincoln's Speech

     In this scene, Mr. Lincoln praises his namesake town for its early growth and development, saying that the town is amounting to something. Mr. Lincoln hopes he, too, will amount to something by running against Stephen A. Douglas and opposing Douglas's popular sovereignty approach to ending the problem of what to do about slavery in the new territories.

     This scene alternates between serious and humorous material, including Abe's responses to questions and comments from the Democratic Spectator, Whig Spectator, and Republican Spectator. The serious material presents Lincoln's main arguments against slavery and Douglas, and Abe closes with a strong appeal to his audience to help him in "this necessary and noble cause." The audience responds with wild enthusiasm.

     Note: In 1858, the Republicans won in Logan County "by 141, but lost the representative district in losing Macon County by 216 votes. . ." (King, Lincoln's Manager, p. 342).

     Access the complete script of the one-act play titled "Mr. Lincoln Rallies Logan County, Illinois, in 1858" (PDF).

     Note: When I began to research Mr. Lincoln's namesake town rally and speech, the only primary source cited for this event in The Lincoln Log (official account of Mr. Lincoln's known daily activities) was the Springfield Illinois State Journal. Thus, after I discovered the reporting of this speech in the Pantagraph and Tribune, I notified The Lincoln Log to suggest adding citations to these papers' accounts. Below is the reply I received:

-----Original Message-----
From: Daniel W. Stowell []
Sent: Mon 1/7/2008 11:14 AM
To: Henson, D Leigh
Subject: RE: Lincoln Namesake Town Rally-Speech of 10-16-1858
Dear Professor Henson:

            Thank you for your helpful e-mail regarding Lincoln's 1858 speech in Lincoln.  I have forwarded the materials to Marilyn Mueller, who is handling the updates to The Lincoln Log.  I have suggested that she cite both the Bloomington Pantagraph and the Chicago Press & Tribune reports in the bibliography for that entry.  She may contact you for page and column number information. The updates will probably not appear for a while, but they will be there eventually.

Thank you again for your assistance in improving The Lincoln Log.

Daniel W. Stowell
Dr. Daniel W. Stowell
Director / Editor
The Papers of Abraham Lincoln
#1 Old State Capitol Plaza
Springfield, IL   62701-1512
(217) 785-9130
fax: (217) 524-6973

     Lincoln, Illinois, has a proud tradition of celebrating its Abraham Lincoln heritage. The first two photos below were taken during the city of Lincoln's Sesquicentennial Celebration of 2003. The cannon was located behind the Postville Courthouse replica and suggests that one can perhaps be fired in town without breaking windows.

Professor Ron Keller and Mayor Beth Davis-Kavelman at
the Sesquicentennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois, in 2003

    Ruth Freesmeier from Lincoln wrote to request placing the following lyrics on this page, and I am happy to comply. She writes, "Here are the lyrics to the song the students of the Carroll Catholic graduating class of 2004 wrote for the Lincoln Sesquicentennial, 2003.

A Lincoln Sesquicentennial Tribute


  Back in 1853 when Old Abe named our town,
  He poured that watermelon juice right on the ground.
  He looked at his friends and neighbors, then exclaimed with glee,
  "What a great place this will be to raise a family!"


  Our fam'ly tree has many great faces. It has grown so much,
  all descendants of good folk like Gillett, Hickox 'n such.
  Mr. Latham, Mr. Scully gave us parks to eat our lunch,
  to sing and dance and play our games- things we like a bunch.


  Lots of schools have sprouted up for sports and learning, too.
  We've followed in your footsteps, Abe; we want to be like you!
  "Honest, Abe" we read our books and study history.
  We play a little baseball, too.  We all want to succeed.


  Our downtown and our railroad station still are here today.
  Some of the stores and business places are still the same old way.
  Our courthouse stands and beams with pride, it is the county seat--
  judges, lawyers, common folk- it's just the place to meet. 


  We're in a new millennium.  Our lives have changed a lot.
  With all our precious memories we can connect the dots.
  Though we've said goodbye to gents and wartime veterans,
  we're here to say hello to new ones and welcome all our friends.


O Lincoln, O Lincoln, look at us today.
A 150 years we've come.  Oh, celebrate!

Note: Our song is copyrighted.You have my permission to print it on the website. Many thanks for your time and contribution to the history of  Lincoln.

Ruth A. Freesmeier
Music Instructor - Carroll Catholic School

     From the Illinois State Historical Society's magazine, Illinois Heritage
(back cover, January-February, 2008, issue)

     I cannot help but wonder if some time in the future when Mr. Lincoln's 1858 rally and speech gain their long-overdue central position in the history of Lincoln and Logan County whether there might be a striking building wall mural in Lincoln, Illinois, to commemorate and publicize the event. A possible location would be the wall of the two-story building at the corner of Broadway and Chicago Streets (the former location of the Thudiums' Lincoln Office Supply Company and before that, the "L" Tavern) just across from the christening monument--near the site of the train depot where Mr. Lincoln arrived from Springfield at noon on October 16, 1858, to have his greatest political experience in his first namesake town and perhaps in all of Logan County. Another two-story wall with good visibility is that of the present-day Blue Dog Inn on Sangamon Street, located just across from the site of the original train depot.

     The Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission [state commission] "serves to promote a deeper knowledge, understanding and engagement in the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, through conferences, publications, preservation of Lincoln sites, and local, state-wide and national observances commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, 2009."

     The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC) [national commission] "commemorates the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, emphasizing the contribution of his thoughts, ideals to America and the world, and serving as a catalyst for strengthening freedom, democracy and equal opportunity for all."

     Tri-State Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration

Suggested Reading

     Abe's Day: What's new in the annals of Lincolnology by James Cornelius

     Abraham Lincoln best on the Web for news and announcements

     Abraham Lincoln Research Site: comprehensive and rich in links to other sources

     The Lincoln Compulsion by Lev Grossman, Time.

     Separating the Mythology from the Raw Politics of a Senate Campaign by William Grimes of The New York Times. This concise essay is partly a review of the latest and best book on the Lincoln-Douglas Debates (Lincoln and Douglas by Professor Allen C. Guelzo) but mostly an incisive analysis of the nature and significance of those debates. Grimes's essay is one of the most precise explanations of these debates I have ever seen. Professor Guelzo's book covers not only the debates but the numerous stump speeches of the candidates throughout central Illinois--the most contested region of the state-- before, during, and after the debates. Thus, Guelzo's book mentions Douglas's and Lincoln's appearances in Lincoln, Illinois. This book appeals to both general readers and specialists.

     Guelzo has won the prestigious Lincoln Prize twice for two previous books that are highly readable and insightful for both general readers and specialists: Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (1999) and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America (2004). The Lincoln Prize is worth $50,000.

"Lincoln, Lincoln, we are proud of you.
Lincoln, Lincoln, we will e'er be true.
Following the bright Golden Rule,
We get things done without much ado.
We're happy, snappy, when we send our call.
Lend your shoulders one and all.
If dear old Abe should return,
I know what he would do -
He'd say, "Lincoln, we're proud of you.

                                                                   --Lyrics of Lincoln Community High School song

Darold Leigh Henson, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of English
Missouri State University
Honorary Member, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, Illinois
Member, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, Inc.
Member, Illinois State Historical Society
Senior member, Society for Technical Communication


Sources Used in the Writing of "Mr. Lincoln Rallies Logan Co., Illinois, in 1858" "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean."

     Basler, Roy P., ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Newark: NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953. Published online by The Abraham Lincoln Association:

     Beaver, Paul. History of Logan County 1982. Dallas, TX: The Taylor Publishing Co. and The Logan County Heritage Foundation, 1982.

     Borit, Gabor S., ed. The Historian's Lincoln: Pseudohistory, Psychohistory, and History. Urbana, IL: The University of Illinois Press, 1988.

     Debbie Ross singing "The Star-Spangled Banner":

     Dooley, Raymond, and Ethel Welch, eds. The Namesake Town: A Centennial History of Lincoln, Illinois. Lincoln, IL: Feldman Print Shop, 1953."

     Douglas Following off a Circus--Novel Acrobatic Performance." Bloomington Daily Pantagraph, September 8, 1858, pp. 1 and 2. Link to full text at

    Encyclopedia Smithsonian Web page titled "Star-Spangled Banner and the War of 1812":

     Fehrenbacker, Donald E. Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850s. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962.

     Fischer, Le Roy H., ed. "Samuel C. Parks's Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln Herald, 1966, 68.1: 11--19.

     Gleason, Paul. Lincoln: A Pictorial History. St. Louis, MO: G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., 1998.

     "Great Meeting at Lincoln." Illinois State Journal, October 18, 1858, p. 1. Link to full text available at

     Grierson, Francis. The Valley of Shadows. NY: The History Book Club, Inc., 1948.

     Gross, Anthony, ed. Lincoln's Own Stories. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 1912.

     Guelzo, Allen C. Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America. Simon & Schuster, 2008.

     Herndon, William H., and Jesse W. Weik. Herndon's Lincoln. Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, eds. Urbana, IL: The University of Illinois Press and Knox College of Galesburg, IL, 2006.

     Hickey, James T. The Collected Writings of James T. Hickey. Springfield, IL: The Illinois State Historical Society, 1991.

     History of Logan County, Illinois, 1886. Chicago: INTER-STATE PUBLISHING CO, 1886. Reprinted by HIGGINSON BOOK COMPANY, Salem, MA, n.d.

     Holzer, Harold, ed. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text. NY: Fordham University Press, 2004.

     _______. Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

     King, Willard L. Lincoln's Manager: David Davis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960.

     Kunhardt, Philip B., Jr., et al. Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography. NY: Grammercy Books, 1992.

    Lincoln, Abraham. "A House Divided: Speech at Springfield, IL, June 16, 1858." In The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 2, edited by Roy P. Basler, 461--469. Springfield, IL: The Abraham Lincoln Association, 1953. 

    _______ . "Speech at Edwardsville, IL, September 11, 1858." In The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 3, edited by Roy P. Basler, 91--96. Springfield, IL: The Abraham Lincoln Association, 1953.  

     _______ . "Speech at Havana, IL, August 14, 1858." In The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 2, edited by Roy P. Basler, 541--543. Springfield, IL: The Abraham Lincoln Association, 1953. 

     _______. "Speech at Peoria, IL, October 16, 1854." In The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 2, edited by Roy P. Basler, 247--479. Springfield, IL: The Abraham Lincoln Association, 1953. 

    _______. "Speech at Tremont, IL, August 30, 1858." In The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 3, edited by Roy P. Basler, 77. Springfield, IL: The Abraham Lincoln Association, 1953. 

     "Lincoln at Lincoln." Bloomington Daily Pantagraph, October 16, 1858, p. 1. Link to full text available at

     Logan, Mrs. John A. The Part Taken by Women in American History. Wilmington, DE: The Perry-Nalle Publishing Co., 1912. This book includes biographical sketches of the 7 daughters of John D. Gillett and Louisa Lemira Parke Gillett, including descriptions of their lifestyles, educations, and accomplishments.

     Map of the Underground Railroad in Central Illinois:

     "Mass Meeting at Lincoln." Bloomington Daily Pantagraph, October 18, 1858, p. 1. Link to full text available at

     "Mr. Lincoln in Logan County." Chicago Press & Tribune, October 21, 1858, p. 1. Link to full text available at

     Nebraska and Midwest Genealogical Record. As a site with a genealogical emphasis, this source has information about the dates of birth, marriage, and death of various members of the John Dean Gillett family not seen in the standard histories of Lincoln and Logan County, Illinois. For information about the present-day Gillett estate at Elkhart, IL, the Old Gillett Farm, access

     Sherwood, Robert E. Abe Lincoln in Illinois. NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1937.

     "Slaves Recall Pre-Civil War." Lincoln Evening Courier and Lincoln Herald. Wednesday, October 18, 1939, pp. 1 + 8. Link to full text:

     Smith, Laura. Antebellum America, 1784--1865. "Patriotic Music":

     Stringer, Lawrence B. History of Logan County Illinois, 1911. Chicago: Pioneer Publishing Company. Reprinted by UNIGRAPHIC, INC., Evansville, IN, 1978, made possible by sponsorship of the Lincoln Public Library, Lincoln, IL.

     Tarbell, Ida M. The Life of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 1. NY: Doubleday Page & Co., 1909.

     The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln. (

     Volk, Leonard. "The Lincoln Life Mask and How It Was Made," Century Magazine, Vol. 23,1881: 223--228. Lincoln Online's Web page about Volk's masks:

     Volkman, Carl. "The Standing Lincoln." Illinois Heritage, November-December, 2006, p. 9.

     Wednesday, October 20, 1858, Rushville, IL. The Lincoln Log.

     Whipple, Wayne, ed. The Story-Life of Lincoln: A Biography Composed of Five Hundred True Stories Told by Abraham Lincoln and His Friends. Philadelphia, PA: The John C.  Winston Company, 1908.

     White, Ronald C., Jr. The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words. NY: Random House, 2005. Professor White's Web site:

Additional Sources (relating to 19th-Century American patriotic music)

    "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean" at The Library of Congress:

    "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean" at The National Institutes of Health:  

    "Hail Columbia." Audio and lyrics at The National Institutes of Health:

         "Hail Columbia" at The Library of Congress:

     "The Star-Spangled Banner" at The Library of Congress:


  Email comments, corrections, questions, or suggestions. 
Also please email me if this Web site helps you decide to visit Lincoln, Illinois:

"The Past Is But the Prelude"


The founding fathers of this town asked their attorney, Abraham Lincoln, for permission to name this new community after him, and he agreed.  On the first day lots were publicly sold--August 27, 1853--, Abraham Lincoln, near the site of the train depot, used watermelon juice to christen the town as Lincoln, Illinois.  It thus became the first town named for Abraham Lincoln before he became famous.