Homepage of "Mr. Lincoln, Route 66, & Other Highlights of Lincoln, IL"

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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
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The Illinois State Historical Society

Illinois Tourism Site:
Enjoy Illinois



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

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

 The Question of Whether Abraham Lincoln
Practiced Law in the Christian Church of Lincoln, Illinois

D. Leigh Henson, PhD

Springfield, MO -- December 20, 2017. For many decades, an interesting major question for the history of Logan County, Illinois, and its seat of Lincoln--the First Lincoln Namesake Town--and a minor question for the legal career of Abraham Lincoln is whether he had practiced law in the Christian Church of Lincoln, Illinois, when it was used as the site of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court during the 1857 fall term and possibly the 1858 spring term. During those terms, Logan County was building a new courthouse, because on April 15, 1857, fire had destroyed the previous one (built in 1853--54), where the Circuit Court was held. (Mr. Lincoln had participated in the March 1857 term of the Logan County Circuit Court.)

     This question intrigues me because, like many people, I am curious about everything Abraham Lincoln ever did and every place he ever visited--in my case, especially the First Lincoln Namesake Town, my hometown. (I am also interested in Lincoln the writer/speaker.) Mr. Lincoln's legal activity is well documented, and there are no other outstanding questions about where he had practiced law. The "lawyer Lincoln in church" question first caught my attention a little more than ten years ago. I researched it then, without conclusive results, and I have researched it a couple of times since, gaining more useful information, but still without a complete answer. Here is an account of my findings to date.

The 2007 Lincoln Christian Church's Claim
That Mr. Lincoln Had Practiced Law There

     I began to investigate this question in 2007, when officials of the Christian Church in Lincoln widely publicized their discovery of a 1975 photo of a missing church plaque that stated Abraham Lincoln had practiced law in their church. Plaque text: "Pending erection of a new courthouse for Logan County to replace one destroyed by fire in 1857, the original Christian Church built on this site that year was used as both Church and Circuit Courtroom and here Abraham Lincoln practiced law and by common consent acted as temporary judge" ("Lincoln Christian Church Holds Unique Historical Fame," Pantagraph, September 9, 2007). (See photos of that plaque and church below in this report, and find news articles in Sources Cited and Suggested.) The language "by common consent acted as temporary judge" could be interpreted to mean that at the time of the plaque's installation, Lincoln biographers and historians generally agreed that he had served as a judge at that time and place, but as later explained, the language meant something else. Apparently, none of the journalists writing about the Lincoln Christian Church's claim in 2007 questioned it.

     Then, in addition to the 1975 plaque photo, Mr. Ron Otto, the preaching minister (official title) of the Lincoln Christian Church, announced that he had found a copy of what was said at the plaque's dedication. This document had been misfiled among some legal papers, he noted, "which is why it wasn't discovered before" ("Story Stands: Abe Did Practice Law in Lincoln Church," the Courier, September 8, 2007). In 2007 the text of what was said at the plaque dedication was not made public. This plaque was installed in the second Lincoln Christian Church building ("Story Stands"), which was dedicated in 1904 (Beaver, Logan County History 1982, p. 62). (A photo of the second Lincoln Christian Church appears later in this report.) Mr. Otto and Mr. Todd Parmenter, the church's executive minister, called for a community-wide search for the missing plaque. Convinced of the accuracy of the plaque's text, those church officials boasted that their church was absolutely the only one in the world where Mr. Lincoln had practiced law.

     Various news media in central Illinois carried stories about the church's claim as a result of press releases from the Lincoln Christian Church. These news stories reported that church officials would seek co-sponsorship from the Illinois State Historical Society (ISHS) in erecting a historical marker at the site of their 1857 church, now a parking lot next to the Lincoln Public Library, to commemorate their church's distinctive, alleged connection to Mr. Lincoln. The ISHS required at least one primary source before endorsing a historical marker. A primary source is one that is contemporary with a given event, for example, a court document, newspaper report, letter, or diary--in this case, something dating to 1857--58.

Christian Church Plaque Photo Reprinted in the 2007 LincolnDailyNews.com

     The undated photo below shows the second Lincoln Christian Church, where the plaque had been installed outside sometime between 1937 and 1942--probably 1941 because in that year an article appeared in the Lincoln Courier about a reminiscent, eyewitness account of Lincoln acting as judge in this church sometime during the construction of the Logan County Courthouse, 1857--58. More about that article later.


The Lincoln Christian Church, Dedicated in 1904 (demolished early 1950s)

(Undated photo courtesy of native Lincolnite Fred Blanford, 1941--2008)

     The inset shows the minister of that time, perhaps a Mr. Hooe. The photo was taken by Charles Stringer of Lincoln, Illinois, no known relation to Lawrence B. Stringer (1866--1942), who was a Lincolnite, Logan County judge, student of Abraham Lincoln, and historian. He played a major role in the "lawyer Lincoln in church" question. At the right of the church is the Miller Building (department store), constructed of concrete blocks, long demolished.

     My 2007 research found that the renowned Abraham Lincoln historian James T. Hickey (1922--1996) had considered this question. In 1953 during the Centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Mr. Hickey's research was summarized in an article in the Lincoln Courier's special Centennial Edition. Mr. Hickey reported that the 1857 fall Logan County Circuit Court at Lincoln began on September 21 (Monday) and ended two weeks later on October 2 (Friday). Mr. Hickey found that Mr. Lincoln could not have practiced law in the Lincoln Christian Church during the 1857 fall term, because the historical record shows he was then in Chicago on legal business for many days (details of Mr. Hickey's research appear later in the present report).

     The Lincoln Log shows that Mr. Lincoln finished his Chicago legal business on September 24 (Thursday), 1857, and was back in Springfield September 26--30. The Lincoln Log does not have entries for Mr. Lincoln on September 25 (Friday) or subsequent days when the Logan County Circuit Court was in session that term: October 1 and 2 (Thursday and Friday) but shows that Lincoln attended court in Metamora October 7--10.

     I reported Mr. Hickey's research findings to the executive minister of the Christian Church, Mr. Todd Parmenter. We then had several, debate-like, civil email exchanges. Mr. Parmenter noted that Mr. Stringer spoke at the plaque's dedication and asserted that his speaking on this occasion indicated his belief that Abraham Lincoln did practice law in the Lincoln Christian Church: "Why would Stringer speak if he didn't believe what the plaque said was true?" ("Story Stands"). I note that Judge Stringer may even have been involved in composing the text of the plaque: both Stringer's history book and the plaque begin with the legalistic term "pending," and the law was his profession. Stringer had composed the inscription on the bronze marker of the granite monument erected at the site of the Postville Courthouse in Lincoln by the DAR in 1917 (Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, Section Six, August 26, 1953, p. 7). (For complete texts of the email exchanges between Mr. Parmenter and me, access http://findinglincolnillinois.com/churches.html.)    

     Mr. Parmenter's question was a good one, and later in this report I offer my opinion as to why Mr. Stringer involved himself in the plaque project. Also, I suggest that members of the Lincoln Christian Church undoubtedly read the 1953 Courier article reporting Mr. Hickey's determination that Mr. Lincoln did not practice law in their church. It stands to reason that they then promptly removed the plaque because of its presumed inaccuracy. Subsequently the plaque mysteriously disappeared until April 2017, as explained later. In my email exchanges with Mr. Parmenter, he eventually admitted that Mr. Hickey's findings made a lot of sense (email to me of 9-13-2007). The debate then shifted to the 1858 spring term of the Circuit Court at Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln participated in those proceedings, but, as described below, they probably did not take place in the Christian Church. 

     In 2007 I notified various news media in central Illinois that I was calling the Christian Church's claim into question. (Under Sources Cited and Suggested below, see articles published by central Illinois news sources that explained my skepticism about the church's claim.) In 2007 church officials indicated their people would continue searching for an appropriate primary source, in addition to the plaque. The reappearance of the plaque in April 2017 was as mysterious as its disappearance.

James T. Hickey's Research into Lincoln's Legal Activity During the 1857 Fall Term of the Logan County Circuit Court

     Mr. Hickey had determined that during the 1857 fall term of the Logan County Court, Abraham Lincoln was participating in a court case in Chicago (Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, section Five, August 26, 1953, p. 8).  For the record, here is the entire text of the 1953 Courier article in which Mr. Hickey provided evidence supporting his view that Mr. Lincoln most likely did not practice law in the Christian Church in Lincoln during this period:

The First Christian Church of Lincoln was used at one time as the county courthouse, but there is no proof that Abraham Lincoln ever appeared there during the period, James Hickey, vice president of the Logan County Historical Society, maintains. While searching the courthouse records for material, Hickey came across a suit that had been filed in the circuit court in 1858. According to Hickey, the find revealed the following: David Blain, contractor and builder of the first church[,] filed a bill for relief in chancery Aug. 26, 1858, to obtain payment of a balance due on the contract.

Filed Answer: The suit was directed against the building committee of the church, Joseph Reed, John Handesley, Samuel Emmett, Hopkins Judy [sic]. and Michael Hinricken. The trustees filed an answer to Blain's suit, stating there was bad workmanship, the shingles were bad and the roof leaked. They maintained that Blain was paid more than he was entitled.

In the record are these words, "The said Blain once rented the building as a courthouse to the County of Logan and received from said county the sum of $50,-- therefor [sic] and since has entrusted said church to the care of Thomas H. Denney." The court found for the contractor and the trustees were ordered to pay the balance due on the contract. This document [Blain's original complaint?] was filed with John T. Jenkins, circuit clerk at this time but was destroyed by fire April 15, 1857.

Told on Plaque: The Fall term of court was held in the church building from Sept. 21 to Oct. 2 and the church bears a plaque stating that Abraham Lincoln held court there during this period. Hickey says that Lincoln was in Chicago during this period, and it would have been physically impossible for him to be in Lincoln. Newspapers of the period gave great play to his part in the Effie Afton case.

Hickey has found evidence of a bill of particulars on a case that was heard in the church while it was serving as a courtroom. The document is in Lincoln's handwriting and concerns the case of Steigleman and Johnson v. Many A. Brace and William H. Young. As Hickey sees it, the case was handled by Lincoln's partner, Herndon. "There just is no way that Lincoln could have taken part in the case in Lincoln and the railroad case in Chicago at the same time," he asserts ("No Proof Abe Lincoln on Hand, Records Here Show," Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, Section Five, Wednesday, August 26, 1953, p. 8). In his 1953 centennial history of Lincoln, Illinois, The Namesake Town, Raymond Dooley echoes Hickey's findings (p. 18). (Note: In fact, The Lincoln Log does not show Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln, Illinois, from April through December of 1857.)

     Mr. Hickey was a researcher and able writer as indicated by his Collected Writings, 1953--1984. While it is true that the 1953 Courier article focuses on the 1857 fall case, Mr. Hickey would have been naturally interested in the broader question of whether Mr. Lincoln practiced law in the Lincoln Christian Church during the spring of 1858. None of his other writings that I am aware of deal with this subject further, so he must not have discovered any other evidence relating to this matter.

James Thomas ("Jim") Hickey (1922--1996)

Photo from The Lincoln Newsletter (fall, 1996),
a publication of the Lincoln Heritage Museum of Lincoln College,
courtesy Professor Ron J. Keller of Lincoln College

     Mr. Hickey, a protégé of Judge Stringer, had served as a curator of the Henry Horner Collection in the former Illinois State Library (now the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum), and he was the author of many research-based reports on Abraham Lincoln (The Collected Writings of James T. Hickey, 1953--1984). Mr. Hickey was a consultant in the 1960s reconstruction of the original Illinois Capitol in Springfield. In mid-twentieth century at Lincoln College, Mr. Hickey taught a two-semester course on Abraham Lincoln. I took that course in 1960--61. Mr. Hickey taught with charming wit, expressing much pleasure for the study of Abraham Lincoln. In retirement from teaching, I have experienced that kind of pleasure.

The Significance of the Steigleman Case

     By mid-2009 I had not seen any new developments in the quest for the church plaque or relevant primary source evidence relating to the "Lincoln in church" question, so I continued my research on these matters. The presence of Mr. Lincoln in Springfield in the last week of September, 1857, while the Logan County Circuit Court was allegedly being held in the Lincoln Christian Church, revives the significance of the case of Steigleman and Johnson v. Many A. Brace and William H. Young as potential evidence that Mr. Lincoln practiced law in the Lincoln Christian Church. When I looked online at The Lincoln Log (authoritative account of Lincoln's daily activities), I discovered that the Effie Afton case was concluded on September 24, 1857, and that Mr. Lincoln was back in Springfield on the 26th.  In the summer of 2009, I wrote to Dr. Bryon Andreasen, then a research historian of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, to ask for assistance in determining whether the court records for Steigleman date to the last few days of September or the first two days of October, when Abraham Lincoln had returned to Springfield and thus would have been able to attend court in Lincoln.

     In his reply letter of August 27, 2009, Dr. Andreasen said Steigleman was heard and decided on September 21, 1857, in favor of the plaintiffs, represented by the law firm of Lincoln & Herndon: "The plaintiffs' petition (what Jim Hickey must have been referring to as the "Bill of Particulars") is in Lincoln's hand. It would have had to have been written and filed before commencement of the fall term in September 1857, in order for notice and process to have been served on the defendants. It would not have been necessary for Lincoln to have personally been in attendance on September 21. Hickey was no doubt correct in his supposition that Herndon (or some other proxy) attended the September 21st proceeding, since Lincoln is documented to have still been in Chicago trying the Effie Afton case on that date."

     According to The Lincoln Log, Mr. Lincoln was back in Springfield on September 26 (Saturday) through September 30 (Wednesday). The Lincoln Log has no entries for October 1 (Thursday) through October 5 (Monday) and shows Mr. Lincoln in court in Metamora beginning on October 7. The point is that Mr. Lincoln could have traveled by train from Springfield to Lincoln in the last days of September and the first two days of October to attend the Logan County Circuit Court during the entire second week of its fall 1857 term.

The Question of Whether Mr. Lincoln Was at Bench or Bar in the Christian Church During the 1858 Spring Term of the Logan County Circuit Court

     Court documents show that Mr. Lincoln had participated in the circuit court at Lincoln in the spring of 1858 while a new courthouse was being built. The new courthouse was not completed until June that year (Stringer, History of Logan County, 1911, vol. 1, p. 163). The Lincoln Log specifies that Abraham Lincoln was in the 1858 Logan County Circuit Court on March 18, 22, and 17, and identifies three cases there and then that Mr. Lincoln tried: Bruner et al. v. Bruner et al.; Hickey v. Hamilton & Dugger; and Hildreth v. Gill. In 2007, Lincoln Christian Church officials indicated their belief that the circuit court's 1858 spring term might also have been held in their church, but no primary source evidence to date proves it.

     Judge Lawrence B. Stringer researched local history in detail, and his encyclopedic, two-volume History of Logan County includes a chapter on Abraham Lincoln and his law practice. Judge Stringer's collection of Lincoln memorabilia formed the basis of the Lincoln collection of the present-day Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College, Lincoln, Illinois.

     Stringer's History explains that while the new Logan County Courthouse was being constructed in 1857--58, separate temporary structures were used for regular business: "The contract for the erection of this court house also included the erection of two small fireproof offices, to be occupied by the Circuit and County Clerks, said offices to be detached and equally distant from the main building, each to face Kickapoo Street and each to be on a line with the west line of the courthouse. . . . The north office was occupied by the Circuit Clerk and the south office by the County Clerk. The latter office was also occupied by the County Judge, and the County Court was held in this building. The offices were ready for occupancy October 1, 1857" (Stringer, History, vol. 1, p. 163).

     In the spring of 1858, then, it is quite probable that the Circuit Court was held in the building occupied by the Circuit Clerk or the one occupied by the County Judge. Stringer would not have felt a need to explain what would have been well known to those familiar with nineteenth-century Illinois--that it was a common practice to hold circuit court in county courtrooms when separate courtrooms did not exist. One example of that may be seen in the 1953 replica of the Logan County Courthouse of Postville in Lincoln, Illinois. Below is a photo of the 1858 Logan County Courthouse and the temporary offices of the Circuit Clerk (building to the left of the courthouse) and County Clerk (building to the right of the courthouse).

Picture Postcard Showing the Logan County Courthouse and Temporary Offices, Where Mr. Lincoln Probably Practiced Law, Spring of 1858

     The email debates Mr. Parmenter and I had did not exactly lead us to "a meeting of the minds," but the exchanges were civil, and mutually rewarding, as he observed: 

In closing, I have enjoyed our exchanges on this story about Mr. Lincoln and the Lincoln Christian Church. Your information and insight has been both helpful and stimulating. I look forward to pursuing this story to its conclusion, and I will keep you up to date on anything new we discover. I believe you have stayed focused in your responses, and I recognize that we are not that far apart. I concur that we cannot have total agreement until the last few missing pieces of primary evidence are located. I am hopeful that they eventually will be found. I too consider these last few conversations as case closed and thank you for your graciousness (email, 9-20-2007).

     Since then, I have received no additional communication from any official of the Lincoln Christian Church.

Historian's Error Contributed to the Idea That Mr. 
Lincoln Had Practiced Law in the Lincoln Christian Church

     Judge Stringer's History of Logan County, 1911, is the main secondary source providing a basis for the possible claim that Abraham Lincoln practiced law in the Lincoln Christian Church. Stringer wrote, "Pending its [1857 Logan County Courthouse] erection and completion, the terms of court were held in the Christian Church" (vol. 1, p. 162). Yet nowhere in his History does Judge Stringer explicitly claim that Abraham Lincoln worked as a lawyer or judge in the Lincoln Christian Church. Judge Stringer was fascinated with Abraham Lincoln and describes his every activity that can possibly be based on source evidence, including eyewitness accounts. In places where Stringer focuses on Mr. Lincoln, including a separate chapter on him, Stringer would surely have mentioned Mr. Lincoln practicing law in the Lincoln Christian Church if Stringer had evidence to support that claim.

     Nevertheless, Stringer's History includes an account of a case taken by the law firm of Lincoln & Herndon (William H. Herndon, Lincoln's Springfield law partner) that relates to the question of Lincoln practicing law in the Christian Church. The case is titled St. Louis, Alton, & Chicago Railroad Co. v. Dalby. Joseph A. Dalby sued the railroad for injuries he had received while scuffling with railroad employees over the price of a fare for his family's passage north from Elkhart to Lincoln. The firm of Lincoln & Herndon represented Mr. Dalby, but also during this case, Lincoln was in Chicago. Court records show that attorney Samuel C. Parks of Lincoln aided Herndon.

     Stringer's History claims that Lincoln had written the judge's instructions to the jury in Dalby (vol. 1, p. 219). Stringer's book includes a facsimile of part of the judge's instructions to the jury (vol. 1, between pp. 368--69). Stringer does not date the Dalby case, but he probably assumed it was heard in Lincoln, Illinois, when the Circuit Court was held in the Christian Church.

     My research discovered that attorney-biographer John J. Duff in A. Lincoln, Prairie Lawyer (1960) pointed out that Stringer had erred in identifying the author of the jury instructions. Mr. Duff wrote, "One does not have to be a handwriting expert to see that there is no resemblance whatever between the facsimile of the instructions and Lincoln's unmistakable handwriting. (The writing clearly is that of David Davis. The Illinois State Historical Library has some of the original papers in this case, and the Judge's hand is much in evidence.) Beveridge (early twentieth-century Lincoln biographer), citing Stringer, indicates that Lincoln tried the case in the lower [circuit] court. As a matter of fact, at the time of the trial in Logan County, Lincoln was in Chicago, trying the Effie Afton case" (p. 270).

     Undoubtedly Stringer's error in thinking that Abraham Lincoln had written the judge's instructions to the jury could have been a factor in his mistaken belief that Lincoln had practiced law in the Lincoln Christian Church in 1857. Further, historian William D. Beard pointed out that Stringer's error had led several other well-known, twentieth-century Lincoln biographers and historians to make the inaccurate inference that Lincoln had practiced law in his First Namesake Town that term. The railroad lost the case in circuit court and appealed in the Illinois Supreme Court. According to Beard, Herndon--not Lincoln (as other Lincoln experts had believed)--handled the appeal proceedings in which the higher court upheld the lower court's judgment. The Dalby case became one of the most significant cases of the firm of Lincoln & Herndon for setting influential precedence. (See link to Beard's article in Sources Cited and Suggested.)

     According to The Lincoln Log, on September 24, 1857 (Thursday), the Effie Afton trial ended in favor of the railroad company, Lincoln's client. The Lincoln Log has no entry for September 25, 1857 (Friday); but as explained later, Mr. Lincoln may have passed through his First Namesake Town on that date--the very day Dalby was concluded in the circuit court (Court Record, December Term 1857, St. Louis & Chicago RR v. Dalby, Lincoln Legal Papers, 274). Also, according to The Lincoln Log, Abraham Lincoln, as noted above, was back in Springfield on September 26 (Saturday).

     Mr. Lincoln had been in Chicago continuously since the beginning of September 1857, working on the Effie Afton case. He must have been eager to head home as soon as possible, but there is no information to indicate exactly when he boarded the train in Chicago to return to Springfield. Apparently each day of the week in 1857, the St. Louis, Alton and Chicago Railroad offered overnight express (passenger) service that Mr. Lincoln could have used to travel from Chicago to Springfield, according to a schedule published on September 25, 1857, in the Bloomington Pantagraph. One example showing that Mr. Lincoln traveled by train at night occurred in 1858 immediately following the last Lincoln-Douglas debate, at Alton on October 15. After that debate, Mr. Lincoln managed to go from Alton to his First Namesake Town (approximately 120 miles), to participate in a Republican rally at mid-day and speak for two hours. The only way he could get there on time would have been to travel by train at night.

     According to the 1857 schedule published in the Pantagraph, the train from Chicago would have arrived in Bloomington around 3:30 a.m. and would have left Bloomington for Springfield at 5:00 a.m. The train would have stopped in Lincoln about two hours later, in time for Mr. Lincoln to attend court in the Lincoln Christian Church as an observer if not a participant. Mr. Lincoln's presence there would have enabled Judge Davis to arrange for Mr. Lincoln to substitute for him some time(s) during the following week, when the Logan County Circuit Court met each weekday. Even if Mr. Lincoln had waited to travel by day on September 25, he could have stopped in Lincoln near the end of the day and conversed with Judge Davis, Mr. Herndon, and Mr. Parks.

     Ironically, if Mr. Lincoln had visited the court in Lincoln on September 25, he would have witnessed Judge Davis presiding over the conclusion of Dalby--the case for which Judge Stringer mistakenly thought Mr. Lincoln had served as Davis's substitute.

Lawrence B. Stringer

Undated photo from Dooley, The Namesake Town (1953),  p. 75.

Dr. Jacob Hoke Beidler's Reminiscent Account of Claiming to
See Mr. Lincoln Serving as a Judge in the Lincoln Christian Church

     Late in February 2010, after I published an article at LincolnDailyNews.com about Judge Stringer's error, I received additional information that led to a new question about Lincoln possibly working in the church that fall as a substitute judge. The new information was the discovery of an article in the Lincoln Evening Courier of July 21, 1941, about the dedication of the bronze plaque placed on the front of the second Lincoln Christian Church to commemorate its belief that Lincoln had practiced law in its 1857 church. The discovery was made by Mr. Bill Donath, then president of the Logan County Genealogical and Historical Society in Lincoln and one of its key researchers, after he read my February article. Apparently church officials in 2007 had not seen the 1941 article, nor had I, when I first pointed out a lack of primary source evidence for the “Lincoln in church” claim.  

     In 2007 church officials apparently did not know when the plaque’s dedication was made, but they did know that Earl C. Hargrove and Judge Stringer had participated in the dedication ceremony. I had determined the time frame of the dedication to be between 1937, when Mr. Hargrove became minister of the Lincoln Christian Church (Beaver, History of Logan County 1982, p. 62) and 1942, the year Judge Stringer died (Beaver, in Foreword to the 1978 reprinted edition of History of Logan County 1911). In 2007 I did not believe any newspaper article about the dedication would be definitively significant because, like the plaque, it would be only a secondary source.


     Consequently, I did not look for that article. As it turns out, I should have because the Courier article includes the full text of Stringer’s dedication speech, and that speech refers to an obscure primary source not mentioned in his 1911 History.


     In his 1941 plaque dedication address, Mr. Hargrove pointed out that Lincoln’s many references to a divinity disproved the accusation that he was “an agnostic, an infidel, and an atheist,” as some had charged. Stringer’s address recounted Lincoln’s various legal activities in Logan County, and Stringer stated that Lincoln had substituted for Davis as judge in the circuit court when it was held in the Lincoln Christian Church in the fall of 1857. Stringer’s speech cited the reminiscence of Dr. Jacob Hoke Beidler, who was living in Lincoln in 1857.


     In the middle 1880s, Dr. Beidler wrote of his early experiences, and they were allegedly published in the Lincoln Herald. One of Beidler’s recollections is his account of a session of the 1857 fall court term when it was held in the Lincoln Christian Church. Stringer quotes Beidler’s reminiscence:


I saw Lincoln for the first time in the village of Lincoln in Logan County. The Logan County Courthouse had been destroyed by fire and court was held at the time in the Christian Church. As I entered the courtroom, I discovered that Judge Davis was not occupying the bench but that another man and one I had never seen was dispensing justice. His rulings were so rapid and his language was so pertinent that I felt he must be a legal gentleman of eminence. I inquired who he was and was informed that he was Abe Lincoln of Springfield.


Stringer’s 1911 History of Logan County, Illinois, gives a brief biographical sketch of Dr. Beidler but does not refer to Beidler’s story of having seen Mr. Lincoln in 1857 at the bench. Stringer's plaque dedication speech is not the first instance in which one of his speeches presented a startling revelation about Mr. Lincoln’s relationship to his First Namesake Town. Stringer’s speech at the 1909 Lincoln Centennial Celebration stated that the town’s founding fathers offered to name the town after Mr. Lincoln in compensation for his legal work in securing the town charter.


 Historians have identified occasions for which Judge David Davis asked Lincoln to substitute for him. Professor Willard L. King, Davis’s biographer, wrote: “In emergencies, Lincoln and certain other lawyers sometimes presided in Judge Davis’s place. . . . Of course, a mere member of the bar could not sit in any case if the lawyer for either side objected. . . . The occasions on which Lincoln presided for Davis are hard to find since the participating lawyers agreed that the clerk's official record should show Judge Davis as sitting throughout, and only Lincoln's handwriting on the Judge's personal docket would reveal the substitution" (p. 95). King cites examples of Lincoln's handwriting as evidence of his substitution for Judge Davis, but none of them relate to the Logan County Circuit Court.


Lincoln Authority Lloyd Ostendorf's Drawing Titled Lincoln the Lawyer and Judge,

Lawyer Lincoln; Lincoln, Illinois 2nd Courthouse; and Judge Lincoln, 1859


     Drawing courtesy of Professor Ron J. Keller of Lincoln College, from Mr. Ostendorf's collection titled "Scenes of Abraham Lincoln's Life with His Godchildren: His Town, College, County." The above drawing was sponsored by the Lincoln Lions Club in cooperation with the Logan County Abraham Lincoln Heritage Foundation. Mr. Ostendorf's annotation for this drawing:


While many people know of Lincoln the lawyer, few are aware that he also served as a judge. He is pictured here in both roles. The building is the second Logan County Courthouse to be built in Lincoln, Illinois. In this building during the March term of the 1859 Eighth Judicial Circuit, Mr. Lincoln participated as a judge in 34 cases. In one of the cases Mr. Lincoln served as both a lawyer and a judge. On March 19, 1860, Mr. Lincoln participated in his last trial on the historic Eighth Judicial Circuit in this courthouse. Ahead would lie the presidency and immortality. The courthouse depicted here was dismantled in 1903 when the present courthouse was built.


Concerning Beidler's alleged, eyewitness account of Mr. Lincoln serving as a judge in the Lincoln Christian Church: historians maintain that reminiscence can be unreliable. In "'Judge' Abraham Lincoln" (1955), historian Harry E. Pratt, PhD, wrote, "Beidler apparently confused this occasion with Saturday, April 2, 1859, when Lincoln did preside in the city named for him." The 1859 Logan County Circuit Court did not, of course, meet in the Lincoln Christian Church, and surely Dr. Beidler would not have confused the church setting with the courthouse courtroom. Also, as explained above, circumstantial evidence shows that the second week of the 1857 fall term of the Logan County Circuit Court was the most likely time in which Mr. Lincoln could have been there as a participant. Dr. Pratt cited numerous, verified cases in which Lincoln substituted as judge for David Davis, but the April 2, 1859, case was the only one from the Logan County Circuit Court.


     The quality of Dr. Beidler’s reminiscence is uncertain. First, there is the question of how reliable his nearly thirty-year memory was. Second, there is the question of how reliable the informer was who told Beidler the man on the bench was Lincoln. Amazingly, another lawyer took part in this 1857 circuit court who was described as a Lincoln look-alike--Lionel P. Lacey (or, Lacy), as explained below. Third, no 1857 primary source evidence, such as a court document, newspaper report, diary entry, or letter, has been identified that would corroborate Beidler’s story.

Jacob Hoke Beidler, MD: The Forgotten Fireside Poet Eulogist of
Abraham Lincoln from His First Namesake Town

Photo from J.H. Beidler, Poems (1903)

     Yet Beidler’s testimony is significant. First, it would have reinforced Judge Stringer's (mistaken) belief that the trial judge’s instructions in the Dalby case had been written by Mr. Lincoln in the Lincoln Christian Church during the 1857 fall term of the Logan County Circuit Court. (Judge Stringer must have discovered Dr. Beidler's reminiscent account after publishing the 1911 History, which does not mention it.) Second, Beidler’s story raises the question of whether some primary source such as a newspaper, letter, diary, or court document in Lincoln’s hand from the 1857 fall term of the Logan County Circuit Court might yet be discovered. The chances, however, are remote, given how thorough the searches for Lincoln-related primary sources have been.


     Previously, in researching another aspect of my hometown's Lincoln heritage, I had discovered that Jacob Hoke Beidler (1829--1904), MD, was well known in Lincoln and Logan County. He was the organizer of Logan County’s first teachers' institutes, an inventor, and a published poet who had written several poems eulogizing Lincoln in the sentimental tradition of the Fireside Poets of nineteenth-century New England. Stringer says a copy of Beidler’s Poems, including "Lincoln, or, the Prime Hero of the Nineteenth Century" (access below via link under Sources Cited and Suggested), was placed beneath the cornerstone of the present-day Logan County Courthouse when it was laid in 1903. A brother of Dr. Beidler, S. Linn Beidler, had given an account of witnessing Abraham Lincoln studying Stephen A. Douglas when he delivered a political speech under a circus tent in September 1858 during the Lincoln-Douglas debates (access link under Sources Cited and Suggested.)


     Lionel P. Lacey (Lacy) (1819--1866)--the Lincoln look-alike mentioned above--had participated in the 1857 fall Logan County Circuit Court when it was held in the Lincoln Christian Church, according to Judge Stringer's History (vol. 1, p. 327). Mr. Lacey had practiced law in Logan County during the 1840s and 1850s. Stringer refers to him as Judge Lacey. According to the reminiscence of one of Lacey’s daughters, “She heard a friend of her father say that ‘as Lacey and Lincoln rode together going to court on horseback, it was hard to tell them apart. They were both tall, lean men of a similar appearance. Mr. Lacey wore a beard and had the same cadaverous expression, but not so sad however, as his lot in life had always been easier.'” (Of course, Lincoln did not have a beard when he might have ridden with Mr. Lacey.) According to Stringer's History, Lacey “was much respected in the county” (vol. 1, p. 491). In view of Lacey’s favorable reputation and presence at the 1857 fall court in the church, it is not out of the question that David Davis could have asked Lacey to substitute briefly for him then and there--and that someone could have mistaken him for "Abe" Lincoln.

Lincoln Look-Alike and Sometime Law Partner Lionel P. Lacey

Photo from the online Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln

Rediscovering the Missing Church Plaque

     In April 2017, at the dedication of the Mill Route 66 Heritage Museum in Lincoln, Mr. Geoff Ladd, Assistant Director at Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, presented Mr. Ron Otto of the Lincoln Christian Church with the missing church plaque. It had mysteriously reappeared and was delivered to Mr. Ladd, who decided to return it to the church. The reappearance of the plaque may encourage some locals in continuing to believe that Mr. Lincoln had practiced law in the Lincoln Christian Church.

2017 Plaque Photo from LincolnDailyNews.com

A Brief History of the Lincoln Christian Church and Additional Lincoln Lore Relating to the "Lawyer Lincoln in Church" Question

     Some of the oldest churches in Lincoln were located in the downtown area, several just one or two blocks north of the square. Two blocks northeast of the Logan County Courthouse square, the founding fathers laid out a city block for a park that came to be called Latham Park after Col. Robert B. Latham, one of the town's founding fathers, who also built his home facing this park. The park still bears his name, but his house was demolished early in the twentieth century. 

     On the square of this park, four religious groups built houses of worship at various times:  Methodists, the Christian Church Society, Universalists (similar to the Unitarians), and Jews. The historical record indicates that both a Methodist Church and a Christian Church were built on the square of Latham Park in the late 1850s. After the county seat was moved to Mt. Pulaski in 1848 (returned to Lincoln in 1855), the Postville Courthouse was sold to a private owner, so the Methodists, who had used the Postville Courthouse, in 1853 held church in the new Alton & Chicago Depot in Lincoln (Stringer, vol. 1, p. 512). That depot was demolished early in the twentieth century. A synagogue facing Latham Park was built in 1910 at the corner of McLean and Delavan Streets (Stringer, vol. 1, p. 508). That structure is now owned and occupied by the Lincoln Woman's [sic] Club. In addition to the churches and synagogue, the Lincoln Public Library was located on the square of Latham Park at the corner of Pekin and McLean Streets. The library's public-service mission and the houses of worship that surrounded Latham Park made this area one of the most spiritual/cultural settings of Lincoln, Illinois.

     In his Ancestors: A Family History (1971), the celebrated native Lincolnite author William Maxwell discusses the evolution of the Christian Church denomination from its Presbyterian roots and describes his father's family's devotion to the Lincoln Christian Church.

     A Christian Church was built on "a lot on Pekin Street [south side] between Kickapoo and McLean Streets . . . [the land] donated by Messers. Latham, Gillett, and Hickox, the proprietors of the original town of Lincoln" (Stringer, vol. 1, p. 502).  Beaver's History of Logan County 1982 has a photo of the first Christian Church, and someone had printed on the photo: "Built AD.1856. Wrecked A.D. 1903. John A. Simpson Architect" (p. 134). On this same site, the Christian Church built a replacement church in 1904--where the controversial plaque was installed--, and the third, contemporary Lincoln Christian Church, was built at Pekin and McLean Streets and dedicated December 5, 1954 (Beaver, p. 62).  The photo below shows the original Lincoln Christian Church.


Original Lincoln Christian Church, on Pekin Street, Being Dismantled in 1903

Photo courtesy of David Doolin

     At first I thought this photo, which I had seen published in Raymond Dooley, The Namesake Town, p. 19, was taken during the construction of the church in 1856--57. After receiving a message from Lincolnite David Doolin in April 2009, I changed my mind about the date and circumstance of the photo. The photo shows the church being dismantled in 1903. The church was dismantled during a time when materials were re-used in new construction.

      Additional Lincoln lore relating to the "lawyer Lincoln in church" question: In his email message to me of 9-13-2007, Mr. Parmenter had written, "We have in our possession two pictures and partial articles from the Lincoln Evening Courier and the Illinois State Register, dated February 9, 1952. The articles state that the items were donated to the church by a Justice of the Peace named J.G. Pruitt and are said to have been used by Lincoln when he practiced law in the Lincoln Church building." Neither Judge Stringer nor Mr. Hickey had written one word about this alleged connection. Members of the Lincoln Christian Church were looking for these relics as of September 2007, just as they were looking for the plaque described above.

     I, too, had discovered the photo of these items in the Courier (2-9-1952, p. 8) some years ago when I was doing preliminary research for my collaborative, community history website of my hometown. I did not then use this photo in my Web treatment of Abraham Lincoln because the connection of the boot jack, tongs, and poker to Abraham Lincoln is questionable. According to "Church Tries to Prove Lincoln Legend True," these items were "donated to the church years ago by a judge who was born in 1853" (State Journal-Register, 9-06-07). That person, a young child when Mr. Lincoln allegedly practiced law in the Lincoln Christian Church, was apparently a link in the oral history chain that alleged Mr. Lincoln's use of those relics. That long chain may extend even to the present. As of December 2017, no corroborating primary source has been uncovered. Nor have the relics been rediscovered.

     The man at the right in the photo below is E.H. Lukenbill (1888--1978), a 1928 graduate of Lincoln College. For more than forty years, from 1916 to 1959, Mr. Lukenbill served as the beloved Superintendent of Schools of Logan County (Beaver, p. 631). Mr. Lukenbill was well known to teachers and students of Lincoln the town and Logan County for his fascination with the Lincoln legend. As Mr. Lukenbill made his rounds to various schools, he was fond of moralistic storytelling about the studious, "Honest Abe" Lincoln of New Salem, and my classmates and I at Jefferson School happily anticipated and greatly enjoyed the impromptu entertainment that interrupted the regular classroom business (for stories about the Lincoln legend relating to New Salem, see Wayne Whipple, The Story-Life of Lincoln, publication details in Works Cited and Suggested).

     The highlight of Mr. Lukenbill's local history activism was his leadership in the 1953 Centennial Celebration of the founding of the First Lincoln Namesake Town. For example, he was the master of ceremonies at the dedication of the Postville Courthouse replica and had the challenge of entertaining the crowd until Governor Stratton arrived. Mr. Stratton was late because on the way from Springfield to Lincoln, he had been joyriding on the new four lanes of Route 66 before they were opened to the public. My Jefferson School classmates and I witnessed the dedication ceremony. (Access link to the Centennial Celebration in Sources Cited and Suggested.) Mr. Lukenbill's final retirement was with the US Department of Education in Washington, D.C. He rests in Old Union Cemetery southwest of Lincoln, as does Judge Stringer. Mr. Hickey rests in the adjacent Holy Cross Cemetery (not in the cemetery on top of Elkhart Hill, near his cherished, rural Logan County home).

     E.H. Lukenbill helped to get Lincoln the town and Lincoln the man into my blood, as did James Hickey. I just missed Judge Stringer: he died the year I was born.

Artifacts Allegedly Used by Abraham Lincoln

(Photo from the Lincoln Courier, 2-9-1952, p. 8) 


     This report shows that no evidence to date proves or disproves that Abraham Lincoln practiced law in the Christian Church of Lincoln, Illinois. The history of the search for the answer to the "lawyer Lincoln in church" question involves plot twists that tease us with the possibility that he might have, and additional primary source evidence may yet be found. Meanwhile, Lincoln buffs, including boosters of his First Namesake Town who want to erect another historical marker honoring their founders' attorney, must accept the high probability that an answer to the question will remain one of the lesser mysteries in the life of Abraham Lincoln. (Note: a link to this report appears in the first paragraph at http://findinglincolnillinois.com.)

Undated Picture Postcard of the Lincoln Christian Church,
the Miller Building (at right), and the Lincoln Public Library

Lincoln Christian Church Group, Early Twentieth Century

(Photo courtesy of Fred Blanford)

Sources Cited and Suggested

     Abraham Lincoln's activity, fall 1857, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarMonth&year=1857&month=3.

     Abraham Lincoln's activity, spring 1858, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarMonth&year=1858&month=3.

     Beard, William D. "Dalby Revisited: A New Look at Lincoln's 'Most Far-Reaching Case' in the Illinois Supreme Court," Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, 20.2 (Summer 1999): 1-16, https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/2629860.0020.203?view=text;rgn=main.

     Beaver, Paul J. History of Logan County 1982 (Lincoln, Illinois: the Logan County Heritage Foundation and Dallas, Texas: the Taylor Publishing Company, 1982).

     Beidler, Jacob Hoke, "Lincoln, or, the Prime Hero of the Nineteenth Century," https://archive.org/stream/lincolnorprimeher00beid/lincolnorprimeher00beid_djvu.txt.

     "Church Claim About Lincoln Has Doubter," http://www.herald-review.com/news/local/article_3338d836-ee5b-58ef-9889-9a5127e4cb69.html.

     "Church's Connection to Abraham Lincoln Questioned," http://www.pantagraph.com/news/article_8e5baa8b-a2ad-5bba-af52-296d70c47658.html.

     "Church Researching a New Connection to Abraham Lincoln," http://archives.lincolndailynews.com/2007/Sep/19/News/today091907_c.htm.

     "Church Tries to Prove Lincoln Legend True," State Journal-Register, September 6, 2007.

     Duff, John J., A. Lincoln Prairie Lawyer (New York: Bramhall House, 1960), 270.

     Henson, D. Leigh, "Stephen Douglas Speaking in Lincoln, Illinois, with Abraham Lincoln in the Audience,"  http://findinglincolnillinois.com/alincoln-lincolnil.html#douglas0.

     Henson, D. Leigh, "The 1953 Historic Centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois," http://findinglincolnillinois.com/1953centennial.html.

     Hickey, James T., The Collected Writings of James T. Hickey, 1953--1984 (Springfield, Illinois: the Illinois State Historical Society, 1990).

     King, Willard L. Lincoln's Manager: David Davis (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University, 1960).

     Klose, Roland, "Missing Lincoln Link," Illinois Times (9-27-07), http://illinoistimes.com/article-4443-missing-lincoln-link.html.

     "Lincoln Christian Church Holds Unique Historical Fame," http://www.pantagraph.com/news/article_429102aa-6dc6-54cc-86d6-8f2414e231e6.html.

     “Lionel P. Lacey Was Legal Adviser,” Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, Section Eight, Wednesday, August 26, 1953, p. 15.

     Maxwell, William. Ancestors: A Family History (New York: Vintage Books, 1971).

     "No Proof Abe Lincoln on Hand, Records Here Show."  Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, Section Five, Wednesday, August 26, 1953, p. 8.

     Ostendorf, Lloyd, 2000 death notice in the Chicago Tribune, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-11-04/news/0011040231_1_abraham-lincoln-association-lloyd-ostendorf-mr-ostendorf.

     Pratt, Harry E. "'Judge' Abraham Lincoln," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Scoiety, 48.1 (Springfield, Illinois, 1955), 37.

     Saul, Nancy, "Abe's Stint in Church Remains Uncertain," Lincoln Courier, September 29, 2007.

     Saul, Nancy, "Story Stands: Abe Did Practice Law in Lincoln Church." Lincoln Courier, September 8, 2007.

     Sherman, Pete, "Church Tries to Prove Lincoln Legend True." State Journal-Register, September 6, 2007.

     Smith, Nila, "Long Lost Abraham Lincoln Artifact Found at the Mill on Route 66," http://www.logancoil-genhist.org/NewsArticles/2017/Church-Courthouse/long_lost_abraham_lincoln_artifa.htm. Google searches will identify several other online articles about the rediscovery of the plaque.

     Stringer, Lawrence B., History of Logan County Illinois (1911). (Reprinted by UNIGRAPHIC, INC. Evansville, IN: 1978. Foreword by Paul J. Beaver, then an associate professor of history at Lincoln College and curator of its Lincoln Collection).

     Stringer, Lawrence B., Publications, speeches, and other papers in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum,  http://search.illinoisheartland.org/search/searchresults.aspx?ctx=617.1033.0.0.3&type=Keyword&term=Lawrence B. Stringer&by=KW&sort=PD_AU&limit=(TOM=* and own=617)&query=&page=0&searchid=3. Also, Michael Burlingame's Abraham Lincoln A life, vol. 1, (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins Press, 2008), p. 913, has a footnote that indicates Judge Stringer left an unpublished, Lincoln biographical document,

39Lawrence Beaumont Stringer, “From the Sangamon to the Potomac: More Light on Abraham Lincoln,” typescript of an unpublished manuscript, p. 95, Edgar Dewitt Jones Papers, Detroit Public Library.

     The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln, 2nd ed., http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/.

     Welander, Patti. "Lincoln Christian Church Holds Unique Historical Significance," Bloomington Pantagraph, September 9, 2007.

     Whipple, Wayne, Chapter 5, "Six Years at New Salem," The Story-Life of Lincoln (Philadelphia, PA: The John C. Winston Company, 1908), 80--142.

     For more information about and photos of Lawrence B. Stringer, James T. Hickey, and other historians who have published on the history of Lincoln and Logan County, Illinois, see http://findinglincolnillinois.com/historians.html.

   D. Leigh Henson's publications available at Amazon.com, https://www.amazon.com/Books-D-Leigh-Henson/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AD.%20Leigh%20Henson.


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

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"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.