1860 photo taken 4 days after Mr. Lincoln visited Lincoln, Illinois, for the last time. Info at 3 below.

This President grew;
His town does too.
Link to Lincoln:
Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership

Site Map

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, IL

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.)

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 Theater, est. 1923, Lincoln, Illinois

  You can go home again.                                                             Email Leigh Henson at dlhenson@missouristate.edu.

Attorney Thomas Walsh, Esq.,
Of Lincoln, Illinois

     This page presents memoir about legendary Counselor Thomas "Tom"/"Tommy" Walsh provided by Attorney Fred Blanford and Judge James A. "Jim" Knecht. Also included here are Judge Knecht's observations on a letter Mr. Walsh wrote in his defense when another attorney filed a complaint against him with the Illinois State Bar Association.

Thomas Walsh, Esq.

(Photo by Larry Shroyer from the 1950s and provided by Fred Blanford)

Attorney and Life-Long Lincolnite Fred Blanford Remembers Thomas Walsh   

     In 2002, as a participant in the LCHS alums' online community, Gwen Lisk Koda (LCHS Class of '59) responded to Fred Blanford's mention of Thomas Walsh, asking whether Fred Blanford (LCHS Class of 1959) had any information about Mr. Walsh.  In response, Fred sent along the following memoir and above photo of Mr. Walsh:

     "I became acquainted with Tom while I was still in HS.  I'm not sure of the circumstances of the first meeting but the many that followed were welcomed by me as Tom was surely one of the most interesting people I have ever met.  He was at once not only a practitioner at law, but also a student of literature, music, history, chemistry and most of all the human condition.  He introduced me to the works of Ambrose Bearce and H.L. Mencken--not the sort I had ever encountered in HS.

     The following was pulled quickly from a Mencken site on the net--offered only for insight on Tom  if you are not familiar with Mencken.

     'We live in a land of abounding quackeries, and if we do not learn how to laugh we succumb to the melancholy disease which afflicts the race of  viewers-with-alarm. . .  In no other country known to me is life as safe and agreeable, taking one day with another, as it is in These States. Even in a great   Depression few if any starve, and even in a great war the number who suffer by it is vastly surpassed by the number who fatten on it and enjoy it. Thus my view of  my country is predominantly tolerant and amiable. I do dot believe in democracy, but I am perfectly willing to admit that it provides the really really amusing form of government ever endured by mankind.'

     According to the lore--Tom had been at various times: a professional football player, professional baseball player, umpire for "big league" baseball, AND also an officer in WWII who had functioned at a high level in the Manhattan Project--primarily acting (in his words) as a courier between Stagg Field and the TVA installation.  I offer none of this as fact--but make the list to emphasize his skill as a raconteur.  In listening to Tom's stories--it never occurred to question his veracity. I was given to understand his undergraduate (and/or graduate) training had been in chemistry--which could have explained his involvement with the Manhattan Project.

     All the while Tom lived in Lincoln, his wife resided in Macon County.  I had known him years before I ever knew he had a wife.  In fact, I found out about the wife when I ran into Tom at a Lincoln Hall Theater (Chambana) performance of HMS Pinafore where he was accompanied by a daughter (or two--memory fades) which led me to ask about "where" she/they had come from.  It was in his much later years that I (one time only) met his wife.  She was in charge of cleaning up his "studio" (read office--a term he never used to refer to it) for the first, last and only time that was ever done.
  I believe divorce was never a question--Catholics didn't do that--and it is my belief Notre Dame was his alma mater and he sang in the choir at St. Pat's every week.

     I recall Tom relating to my father-in-law how the "lost was now found." He had been unable for some time to locate his Oxford Unabridged Dictionary.  It was on his desktop.  On my first visit to his studio -- I followed the "path" through the accumulated piles of documents, legal tomes, files and miscellany to the second room of the studio.  There--he cleared a chair for me to sit and he remained standing the whole time. I had gone there to get a pleading he was to file in a case I was involved in--and he informed me he would type it up while I waited.  I found that a curious statement as I didn't see a typewriter anywhere. After moving some more piles of papers, files etc., -- there it was--an IBM selectric--front and center on his desk.  He was quite accomplished with the two-index-finger method of typing.

     I shared many pleasant hours with Tom in places where "libations" could be had.  The Hotel Lincoln was one of his favorites -- although he often found himself standing at the bar in Dehner's (Heinie & Poopie's--not Cork's).  When you walked in--you knew Tom was there.  He smoked Picayune cigarettes (which Pfau's Drugstore ordered in especially for him) and there was no mistaking the "bouquet."  He told me and I tried--they were like eating Limburger--if you smoked them (they were a very mild cigarette) you didn't smell them.  My wife put her foot down with my first/last pack.

     Gwen mentioned The Mikado.  There were those years in my early life when there was a Community Theater group.  The more recent version (I did participate for a few years in the 70's) is not a continuation but a resurrection.  Both then and now--the success of such enterprises depends on a great deal of volunteer work from some very energetic people.  My ceasing to participate was a combination of loss of energy and a jealous regard for how I would spend my free time.  In the 50's many of the energetic volunteers were also talented.  That is not to suggest the current version lacks talent--it just seems they had a larger group to draw from back then.

     I believe I mentioned Tom and Saunders Devine in a previous email.  They both settled in Lincoln about the same time and swore you had to be a resident for 25 consecutive years before the "locals" would stop referring to you as a foreigner and consider you a naturalized citizen. That was one of the threads they shared.  Voice was another.  Saunders had performed professionally (on/off Broadway I don't know) prior to coming to settle in his wife's hometown.  Both were part of the Community Theater of the 50's.

     As noted previously, when a jpg has an LBS as part of the moniker--the pic [above] is scanned from the Shroyer archives at the Lincoln Public Library."    

Native Lincolnite Judge Jim Knecht's Memoir Relating to Mr. Walsh

     In January, 2004, Judge Knecht wrote a note to Leigh Henson that provides the following, and I use it here with his permission:

     "This letter [to the Grievance Committee of the Illinois State Bar Association] is my favorite letter ever written by a lawyer--it is not great as were many of Lincoln's letters, but it wonderfully expresses a W.C. Fields-like outrage at Mr. ____, the pismire (which I think was an insect related to the ant) who dared to complain about Tommy Walsh.

     The copy (which I have xeroxed) was probably re-typed many times and has been circulating among bench and bar for decades--thus there may be typos--and I am sure they are not Walsh's mistakes--but ones that crept in when re-copied long before copy machines.

     Walsh was a Lincoln lawyer who, legend had it, was married, but his wife resided in Decatur and he in Lincoln so they could remain in matrimonial harmony. I do not pretend to have the facts but my impression was of an old fashioned, county seat lawyer who. . . would rather play cards, tell stories or appear in a Gilbert & Sullivan production at Lincoln College than tend to legal business.

     While clerking for Chief Justice Robert C. Underwood of the Supreme Court of Illinois, I was summoned to the dining room of the Supreme Court to have dinner with all the members of the Court. This was a special privilege reserved for law clerks on occasion. I was seated next to Justice Daniel Ward of Chicago--a wonderful lawyer, judge and politician in the best (rather than worst) tradition of Chicago--he was an Irish wit and a lively dinner companion.

     He asked me from where I haled, and when I answered, "Lincoln"--, he furrowed his brow, sank lower in his chair (he was a large man) and glanced suspiciously at me as he asked, "Do you know a lawyer named Tom Walsh?"

     When I replied that I did, he recoiled--literally--shrinking further in his chair--and muttering unkind things about Walsh--they were not critical of Walsh's ability or ethics, but rather how trying he was as an oral advocate--never answering a direct question, bombastic in his speech, and so non-linear that he thoroughly confused the issues in the case.

     I later learned--as other members of the court began laughing at Justice Ward's reaction--that Walsh had appealed two cases involving oil and gas leases on farmland--an obscure and arcane area of the law--and during oral argument his oratorical style so exasperated Justice Ward that he was befuddled in part, angry in part and desirous of never having Attorney Walsh appear before him again.

     The moment passed, Justice Ward's blood pressure dropped and he attempted to be courteous to me for the remainder of the evening, but I am not sure he fully recovered and ever after associated me with his memory of Walsh.

     I think the letter suggests how much fun (or pain) it would have been to deal with Tommy Walsh when he was charging forward at full throttle.

     Respond to Judge Knecht at j.knecht@verizon.net.

*  *  *  *  *

     Leigh's note:  I found Mr. Walsh's letter to the Grievance Committee of the Illinois State Bar Association very interesting in content and style. As an English teacher, I associate this letter with the long and noble tradition of satire seen in Roman, British, and American literature. Walsh's satire is in the harsh, or Juvenalian, mode (after the Roman writer named Juvenal), rather than in the light, or Horatian, mode (after the Roman writer named Horace). Walsh's tendency toward sarcasm is suggested by Fred's observation that Walsh enjoyed H.L. Mencken, the American master of concise (aphoristic) sarcasm--great as an antidote for Emerson, in my opinion. (I cannot read Mencken at bedtime because he makes me laugh out loud, stirring me up and thus preventing me from going to sleep.)


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

"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.