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



   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

16. The Foley House:  A Monument to Civic Leadership

"The people there [in Lincoln, Illinois] seemed, very often, larger than life size."

                  Letter from William Maxwell to "Lincolnite at Heart" Judge Bob Goebel (October 9, 1991)


     One grand traditional residence of this community is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is the Stephan A. Foley house, which locally was also nicknamed Harts Hall in the Route 66 era.  The Foley house is located on Tremont Street, one of Lincoln's most celebrated, scenic streets. The picture postcard below shows Tremont Street a few blocks west of the Foley house. 

16.1:  Undated Colorized Picture Postcard, Intersection of Tremont and Water Streets

     The Elms have been replaced by other kinds of trees, but many of the red-brick streets remain in this neighborhood.

     It has been said that every person's life could be a novel.  It might also be said, then, that every house has as many potential novels as there are people who lived there.  Most people take their complete stories to their graves, and their homes pass into a succession of ownership, with untold stories:  "if only these walls could speak."  In the case of the Foley mansion, history leaves us just enough information to tease us with the stories this house could tell.  Curiously, the Foley mansion was owned by two of Lincoln's greatest philanthropic families.  This page tells some of the story of that connection.

Stephan A. Foley: A Founding Father of the Lincoln Public Library District 

     The Stephan A. Foley house at 427 Tremont Street was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 3, 1984. 

     Stephan Foley hired distinguished Chicago Architect W.A. Otis to design his house, which was constructed in 1898. Foley must have been pleased with the work of Mr. Otis.  As a key player in the founding and construction of the Lincoln Public Library in 1903, Stephan Foley arranged for W.A. Otis to be the architect (also, both the Foley house and the Library were constructed with yellow brick).  Otis was also involved in the design of the great Newberry Library in Chicago.

     See Sources Cited below for Web site address giving detailed information about the Foley house provided by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

     A biographical sketch of Judge Foley is found in Stringer's 1911 History of Logan County. Stephan Foley was a second-generation citizen of Logan County, and both of his parents were born in Ohio.  He was raised on a farm and attended country schools until 17.    

     The following are important dates and events in his life:

16.2:  Picture Postcard of Tree-Lined Tremont Street, 1907, with Rider on White Horse

·  1857-1861:  employed at the Atlanta, Illinois, post office

·  1865:  made abstracts of titles in Logan Co. before attending law school in Albany, NY

·  1867:  marriage to Hannah Hahn of Pennsylvania; children:  William H., Edna, and William [sic]

·  1877:  elected judge of Logan County, also elected president of Lincoln Savings, Loan & Trust Bank

·  1878-1884:  owner of the Lincoln gas plant

·  1880:  major stock owner in the Citizens' Coal Shaft, also death of Mrs. Foley

16.3:  Picture Postcard, Looking North on College Avenue from Tremont Street, 1927, with Rider on Dark Horse

·  1884:  president of Lincoln Gas & Electric Co.

·  1885:  founder-owner of Lincoln Rolling Mills (Stringer, Vol. II, p. 398)

     Stringer also cites Foley's leadership in the Trinity [Episcopalian] Church and further comments on the significance of Judge Foley to the community: 

     "He possesses a character that makes him  strong, forceful and aggressive, and his valuable property is the visible evidence of what he has accomplished in the business world.

16.4:  Undated Picture Postcard of Tremont Street, Looking West from Kankakee Street

     A broad-minded man, his influence has been far-reaching and his efforts effective in all those things which uplift and benefit the community intellectually morally and spiritually" (Stringer, Vol. II, p. 399).  

     "In September 1871, Judge Stephan A. Foley gave four lots, 100 by 160 ft. at the corner of Pekin and Kankakee Streets" (Beaver, History of Logan County 1982, p. 66).  This benevolence provided the site for the Episcopal Church in Lincoln.

     Stephan Foley was instrumental in developing the Lincoln Public Library and served it for 29 years in various leadership roles.  Foley and Colonel R. B. Latham were the founders of Lincoln's library association in 1874 (Lincoln Evening Courier, Section 7, p. 4).  Early in the 1900s, Miss Isabell Nash donated the property of her home to the city in order for the purpose of building a public library. 

 16.5:  Stephan A. Foley Home, Tremont Street

(Leigh Henson photo, July 2001)

     With the Carnegie grant and a gift of $5,000 from Judge Foley, the city of Lincoln was able to construct the present library on the site of Miss Nash’s home" (From "Lincoln Public Library Keeps its History Alive" at archives; link at foot of this page).

      "Mr. Stephen A. Foley guided the library's construction" (Beaver, History of Logan County 1982, p. 32).  Early on, the Lincoln Public Library was even referred to as "the Carnegie-Foley Library" (Lincoln Evening Courier, 1953, section seven, col. 1, p. 4).  In the Library's first four years alone, Stephan Foley donated almost 5,000 books to it (Stringer, p. 478).  Foley envisioned this Library as a key supplemental resource for Lincoln's educational system, and his vision was largely responsible for the enduring superior educational climate of Lincoln, Illinois.

16.6:  Judge Stephan A. Foley

(Photo in Dooley, ed.,
The Namesake Town
, p. 31)

David H. Harts, Jr.:  Business and Civic Leader and Steward of the Foley House

     David H. Harts, Jr. (1878-1962), purchased the Foley house and donated it to Lincoln College in 1937
(Lindstrom, The Namesake College, p. 93).  The College then used this building as a women's residence hall, so it became known as Harts Hall from the late 1930s through the 1960s. 

     Mr. Harts' donation was a key step toward preserving the Foley house.  It stands as a symbol of the business success of Mr. Foley and Mr. Harts, of the comfortable lifestyle afforded by their success, and of the philanthropic spirit of three distinguished Lincoln citizens:  Judge Foley, David H. Harts, Jr., and his father, David Harts H. Harts, Sr.

     Fortunately, some of the story of D.H. Harts, Jr., is known to us through "David H. Harts:  the Great Donor" in Lindstrom's Lincoln:  The Namesake College, pp. 135-141.

16.7:  David H. Harts, Jr.

(Lindstrom, Lincoln:  the Namesake College, p. 134)

     D.H. Harts, Jr., was a native Lincolnite who attended Lincoln College for two years before graduating from the University of Illinois in 1900.  He then spent a year at Heidelberg University and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1905.  D.H. Harts, Jr., began to practice law in Chicago, but returned to Lincoln in 1905, after his older brother, John, was killed in a railroad accident. 

     Mr. Harts was successful in his law practice, business, and public service.  He was president of the Illinois China Company, which he brought to Lincoln.  He also brought the garment factory to Lincoln.  His public service included two terms as president of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, 51 years in the Logan County Bar Association, and 29 years with the Lincoln Savings and Loan. 

     Beginning in 1925 and extending for nearly 30 years, he served on the board of trustees of Lincoln College. In this role, he was following in the footsteps of his father, David H. Harts, Sr., who had also been on the College's board. Lincoln College was a passionate cause for D.H. Harts, Jr.  He helped to manage the farms in the College's endowment.  He was instrumental in helping Lincoln College gain independence from Millikin University in 1953, and for years he corresponded with alumni.

     His honors included Lincoln Evening Courier's Man of the Month in February, 1953, the naming of Harts Science Hall and honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, posthumously awarded and accepted by his widow, who had taught music at Lincoln College and who "supported her husband in his enthusiasms and philanthropy" (Lindstrom, p. 149).

16.8:  Picture Postcard of the Foley House When Known as Harts Hall, about 1940

     This photo shows the evergreen tree in front of the side porch.  Photo 16.5 shows this tree many years later in full growth.  Also 16.8 shows two mature trees on the front lawn that are missing from 16.5.  These trees were probably among the wonderful elm trees that Lincoln, Illinois, was famous for in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries as seen in photos 16.1, 2, 3, and 4. 

     Many of these trees perished in the mid-20th Century elm blight.  Lincoln today has an aggressive tree-growing program and has been nationally recognized for it (see homepage).

     An account of the "Dutch elm disease" in Lincoln, Illinois, is "Pity Our Beautiful Trees" in Our Times, vol. 7, issue 1, spring 2002, p. 8.  More information about the Dutch elm disease and Lincoln's efforts to continue its reputation as a city with magnificent shade tress appears at  24. Government.

     Artist David Alan Badger describes the architecture of the Foley house:  "features. . . side-gabled roof with cross gambrel. . . massive gambrel dormer. . . two-story polygonal bay window. . . round bay window. . . Palladian style windows.     rusticated quoin.     classic column porch supports" (The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois, no page numbers).

     Lincoln College subsequently sold the Foley house in an effort to remain financially solvent.    

     The Stephan A. Foley House Historic Site is a monument to the philanthropy of the Harts family as well as that of the Foleys.  An additional chapter in the story of these families' philanthropy needs to be told.  It is a story that further connects the Hartses and Foleys.
David H. Harts, Sr.:  Role Model of Business, Legal, and Civic Leadership and Benefactor of William "Billie" Holmes Dyer, M.D.

     Undoubtedly, David H. Harts, Sr., who had been a captain in the Union Army, was a role model for his son, showing exemplary success in his law practice, business activities, and public service, with passionate support of Lincoln College. 
Hartsburg, Illinois, was named for D.H. Harts, Sr., because he laid it out (Beaver, p. 108).  Enough biography of these two men exists to indicate that the son closely followed in his father's footsteps.

     Lincolnite Author William Maxwell describes an example of the kind of benevolence that the D.H. Harts, Jr., must have seen in his father.  The source is Maxwell's "Billie Dyer" (1992), in which the title character is the brother of the Mrs. Harriet Dyer Brummell ("Hattie" in "The Front and Back Parts of the House"), the black housekeeper of Maxwell's childhood home on 9th Street in Lincoln, Illinois.  Billie Dyer apparently had become one of the first black physicians in this country.  During the centennial celebration of Lincoln, Illinois, in 1953, William "Billie" Holmes Dyer, M.D., was named to "The Hall of Fame," a group of 21 of Lincoln's most distinguished citizens. In the centennial pageant enacted in the evenings for a week at the Logan County Fairgrounds, Dr. Dyer was portrayed by William Perkins. In the early 1950s, Dr. Dyer was a prominent black physician, "the head surgeon for all the Negro employees of the Santa Fe [railroad] line" (p. 5).   

     Maxwell describes Dr. Dyer's connection to Lincoln, Illinois.  John Harts, older brother of D.H. Harts, Jr., was a classmate and friend of Billie Dyer, who sometimes went to John's home on Eighth Street as it was between school [Central School at Eighth and Union Streets] and Billie's home [on Elm Street].  Maxwell reports the existence of regular correspondence by letter between Billie Dyer and John Harts after John went away to college (p. 15).  Maxwell says that after John Harts was killed in a train accident [1905] "from time to time, Billie Dyer would put on his best clothes and pay a call on Captain Harts and his wife. 

     When he graduated from high school, Captain Harts said to him, 'And what have you decided to do with your life?' At that time, in Lincoln, it was not a question often asked of a Negro.  Billie Dyer said, 'I would like to become a doctor.  But of course it is impossible.'  Captain Harts spoke to my grandfather [Judge Blinn] and to several other men in Lincoln.


16.9:  John Harts, spring of 1901

      This portrait is selected -- cropped -- from a photo of the locally celebrated French Military Band taken by "Nicholson."  The date is four years before John was killed in a railroad accident.  He appears in the clarinet section.  His mother undoubtedly introduced John to music as she had taught that subject at Lincoln College. He is buried in Old Union Cemetery (photo in Dooley, The Namesake Town, p. 76).

     How much they contributed toward Billie Dyer's education I have no way of knowing, but it does not appear to have been enough to pay all his expenses.  It was thirteen years from the time he finished high school until he completed his internship at the Kansas City General Hospital.  This could mean, I think, that he had to drop out of school again and again to earn the money he needed to go on with his studies" ("Billie Dyer," p. 16). 

     Captain Harts as a member of the Board of Trustees at Lincoln College for many years may have helped with William Dyer's education by making it possible for Dyer to begin his higher education at that institution. Dyer's 1958 obituary in the Lincoln Courier says he graduated from Lincoln College.

16.10:  Captain David H. Harts, Sr.

(Dooley, The Namesake Town, p. 67)

     If, indeed, D.H. Harts, Sr., turned to his acquaintances for support in helping Billie Dyer, evidence suggests that most likely one of them would have been Stephan A. Foley. David Harts, Sr., and Judge Foley were closely associated in several ways.  First, they were both lawyers and members of the Logan County Bar Association from the 1860s to the early 1900s (Stringer, pp. 330, 335, and 343).  Second, they were also business partners in the Lincoln Gas & Electric Light Company in 1884 (Stringer, p. 548), in the Lincoln Cork-Faced Collar Company in 1890 (Stringer, p. 545), and in the Harts Medicine Company in 1900 (Stringer, p. 546).  Third, their common interest in public affairs led them both to serve on the board of the Lincoln Public Library.  In 1910, S.A. Foley was the president, D.H. Harts, Sr., the treasurer.  Both were financially successful and interested in philanthropy.  Thus, it follows that Mr. Harts would have asked Judge Foley to help with Billie Dyer's education, and that Judge Foley would have agreed to do so.

     The obituary of Billie Dyer published in the Lincoln Courier in 1958 (below) says that he graduated from Lincoln College [before entering the University of Illinois Medical College]. Lincoln College was/is a private, two-year institution. Coming from a poor family, Billie Dyer would have required patronage to support his attendance at Lincoln College. David H. Harts, Sr., was on the Board of Directors of Lincoln College for many years  (Lindstrom, p. 135) and could have used that position to help arrange for Billie Dyer to attend that school.
Dr. Billie Dyer: Patriot, Dedicated Caregiver, and Role Model for Blacks

16.11: William "Billie" Holmes Dyer, M.D.

     Senior year photo of Billie Dyer at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, 1916, adapted from "That Democracy Might Reign: The Story of Billie Dyer" by Clif Cleaveland, M.D., MACP. Photo courtesy of Douglas Becknese, Curator, Richard J. Daley Library, University of Illinois at Chicago.

     For more information about Dr. Dyer's family in Lincoln, access "Social Consciousness in William Maxwell's Writings Based on Lincoln, Illinois" and "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."

     Dr. William "Billie" Dyer was a pioneering African-American physician whose career was postponed because of WW I. William Maxwell writes that when Billie Dyer graduated from medical school, he returned to Lincoln and intended to practice medicine there, "but America had declared war on Germany, the country was flooded with recruiting posters ('Uncle Sam Wants You!'), and they got to him [Dr. Dyer]. He was the first Negro from Lincoln to be taken into the Army" ("Billie Dyer," p. 16). Maxwell continues, "three hundred friends and neighbors were at the railroad station to see him off, on a Sunday afternoon, and he was kept busy shaking hands with those who promised to remember him in their prayers. . . . From the diary [Billie Dyer's]: 'Mother and Father standing there with tears in their eyes. . . when I kissed them and bade them farewell . . . . My eyes too filled with tears, my throat became full, and for miles as the train sped on I was unable to speak or to fix my mind upon a single thought'" (p. 18).

     Maxwell's and Cleaveland's accounts of Dr. Dyer's life refer to the challenges he faced because of racism, including difficulties he experienced while serving in the Army Medical Corps during WW I. Despite these challenges, Dr. Dyer pursued the humanitarian calling of his chosen medical profession and aspired to serve as a role model for other blacks: Based on correspondence between Dr. Dyer and one of Maxwell's cousins whose family Dyer had known in Lincoln, Maxwell suggests that Dr. Dyer even worked himself to death in this pursuit: "In each letter there is some mention of his [Dyer's] professional activity--never more than a sentence, as a rule, taken together they give a very good picture of a man working himself to death" (p. 31). Maxwell's story includes the following quotation from a letter written by Dr. Dyer in 1956:

     "I am now working harder and with longer hours than ever before. Silly, you say, well I quite agree but the occasion is this. In the last four months I have been put on the staffs of three of the major hospitals in our city [Kansas City]. I thought at first it was an honor but with the increase in activities which such appointments entail, my work has increased twofold. Since it is the first time that one of my race has had such appointments, I have been working diligently to make good, thereby keeping those doors open." Maxwell adds, "He was still acting as a surgeon for the Santa Fe Railroad, and also for the Kansas City, Kansas, police department" ("Billie Dyer," p. 31). Two years later Dr. Dyer was dead.

     The following is the obituary of Dr. Dyer that appeared in the Lincoln Courier on January 22, 1958:

     "Dr. Dyer Funeral Service Will Be Conducted Here." "Dr. William Dyer, 71, a native of Lincoln, was found dead in his car after an automobile accident at Kansas City, Kansas, Tuesday morning. He apparently suffered a heart attack while driving."

     "Dr. Dyer, a graduate of Lincoln College, two years ago was honored at the alumni banquet as one of the school's outstanding graduates. He was a surgeon for the Santa Fe Railroad for many years and at the time of his death was surgeon for the Kansas City Police Department."

     "He was born August 29, 1886, a son of Alfred and Laura Ward Dyer. He married Bessie Bradley March [6?], 1918, at Alton. Surviving are his wife; a brother Clarence, Columbus, Ohio; two sisters, Sadie Tyler, Chicago; Mrs. Hattie Brummell, Lincoln."

     "He was a veteran of WW I and served his internship at a Kansas City hospital."

     In "Billie Dyer," Maxwell observes that the whites shared doctors, the drinking fountain, and the cemetery with blacks (p. 9), and indeed Billie Dyer's grave is in a black section of Old Union Cemetery surrounded by the graves of countless whites, including some from the upper middle class. For example, a local white lawyer, businessman, and land owner named Bates is buried in a mausoleum only about 75 feet to the right of the photo. Yet, even someone like me who is familiar with Lincoln's history cannot tell whether there is a boundary between graves of blacks and whites, and the poetic justice of that is profoundly felt.

16.12: Old Union Cemetery, Block 35, Section D

(photos of Old Union Cemetery by Leigh Henson, 3-22-06)

     This section of Old Union Cemetery has a concentration of graves of black Lincolnites. Dr. Dyer and his wife are buried near the gap in the yew trees. Close by is the marked grave of Dr. Dyer's sister, Harriett "Hattie" Dyer Brummell, the subject of William Maxwell's story titled "The Front and Back Parts of the House." I could not find markers for the graves of the parents of Dr. Dyer and Mrs. Brummell, but I suspect they are buried in this section. The next time I'm in Lincoln I will ask at the cemetery office.

16.13: Headstone of Bessie (1889--1969) and William Dyer (1886--1958) in
Old Union Cemetery (Block 35, Section D, Lot #3)

16.14: Footstone of William Holmes Dyer, M.D.

16.15: Headstone of Hattie Dyer Brummell

16.16: Typical Terrain of Old Union Cemetery's Southern Edge

     This view looks east from the section where many black Lincolnites are buried. On top of the snow-covered slopes are many marked and unmarked graves. A few headstones are barely visible in the photo. To the right, just beyond the ravines and sloping ridges, is the sweeping flood plain of Salt Creek.

Author's Memoir of the Foley House

     In high school I became aware of the Foley house as Harts Hall because it was a women's dormitory, so it could not escape the notice of town guys.  As a freshman at Lincoln College in 1960-61, I drove past it often, especially after classes rather than on the way to campus. 

     After classes, I could drive more slowly and look at both house and its occupants coming and going.  Also, it was on my way to Dial's Texaco, a favorite hangout and my second home at the time.  I left campus going south on College Avenue, turned left on Tremont Street past the front of Harts Hall, turned right on Ottawa (affording a side view of the dorm), then continued to Union Street and Dial's at the corner of Union and Fifth.  I never dated any of the women of Harts Hall so was never inside as a student.  I was too much of a townie to think seriously about the women of Lincoln College, and my perception was they were too rich to be interested in me.

     My only visit inside Harts Hall occurred in the early 1970s.  At that time, Harts Hall was no longer being used as a women's dorm.  My esteemed, former English teacher, Mrs. Florence Molen, was living in a first-floor apartment in the main section of the house, with entrance from the large east-side porch.  She had invited my ex-wife and me at Christmas time for dessert.  I do not recall that she showed us around her apartment.  We sat in her living room and enjoyed coffee, Swedish rolls, and her tree, which she had decorated with elegant ornaments in the style of her Scandinavian heritage. Had I been sitting in a room where Billie Dyer's future was discussed among family and friends?

     The Foley house is just one of many remaining historic houses that people enjoy seeing when they drive through Lincoln's traditional neighborhoods.  Historic houses of various styles may be observed--Craftsman, Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Spanish, Tudor, and Victorian.

Sources Cited

     David Alan Badger.  The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois.  Privately published, 1987.  Mr. Badger's material is copyrighted with all rights reserved and is used in this Web site with his permission.  Please visit his Web site:     

     Beaver, Paul J. History of Logan County Illinois, 1982.  The Logan County Heritage Foundation. Dallas, TX:  Taylor Publishing Company, 1982.

     Cleaveland, Clif, M.D., M.A.C.P. "That Democracy Might Reign: The Story of Billier Dyer" in Healers & Heroes: Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times (Philadelphia, PA: American College of Physicians, May, 2004).

     Dooley, Raymond, ed.  The Namesake Town:  A Centennial History of Lincoln, Illinois. Lincoln,  IL:  Feldman's Print Shop, 1953.

     Gehlbach, Nancy Lawrence. "Pity Our Beautiful Trees."  Our Times, vol. 7, issue 1, spring 2002.

     Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA).  You can find detailed information, including photos, of the Foley house in a database of this agency.  Go to  On that page, follow the directions to search the HARGISS database for the Foley house.

     "Lincoln Public Library Keeps its History Alive" at  archives for May 25, 2000.

     "Lincoln Public Library Plays Important Role in Community." Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, Section 7, 1953, p. 4.

     Lindstrom, Andrew, and Olive Carruthers.  Lincoln:  The Namesake College.  No publisher's name or place of publication given, 1965.

     Maxwell, William.  "Billie Dyer."  Billie Dyer and Other Stories.  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.  William Maxwell's readers discover and enjoy complex and believable characters, moving scenes, and perceptive insights into human nature and American life.  William Maxwell's works are available at and

     Stringer, Lawrence B. History of Logan County Illinois (1911). Reprinted by UNIGRAPHIC, INC., Evansville, IN:  1978.


     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.