Lincoln's Decatur Ally

Lincoln's Decatur Ally (HM12JC)

Location: Decatur, IL 62522 Macon County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 50.605', W 88° 57.65'

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Richard J. Oglesby was born in Kentucky, journeyed to Decatur as a young orphan, and later became one of Decatur's most prominentand best-loved citizens. Oglesby made a small fortune in the California Gold Rush and fought in both the Mexican War and Civil War, eventually becoming a General. Elected three times as Governor of Illinois, he also was selected as a United States Senator. In family life Oglesby was a father and stepfather to nine children. After the death of his first wife, Anna White, he married Emma Gillett Keays whose father was a wealthy cattle farmer. They later moved to their new home in Elkhart, Illinois, where the Governor died in 1899. He is buried near Elkhart. Oglesby was a friend, fellow attorney, and political ally of Abraham Lincoln. Oglesby created the "Railsplitter Candidate" image along with Lincoln's cousin John Hanks. It placed Lincoln in the national spotlight during the 1860 presidential election. In 1865 when Lincoln died, Oglesby was with him and accompanied the body to Springfield, Illinois. As Governor of Illinois, he led the effort to build Lincoln's Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

This image is one of Richard J. Oglesby as Colonel for the Eighth Illinois Infantry. As Colonel, Oglesby was unlike many political appointees that President Lincoln commissioned during the War because Oglesby was an effective leader of his troops. He saw much combat, being critically wounded in the Battle of Corinth. When informed of Oglesby's reported death, President Lincoln became visibly upset, thinking his friend had been killed. Oglesby ultimately recovered from his wounds but carried pieces of the bullet in his body for the rest of his life.

The two photographs show the homes that Richard Oglesby owned while living in Decatur. The first was built in the 1850's, and it was here that Abraham Lincoln would visit Oglesby in Decatur. In this home Oblesby hid the two Lincoln and Hanks fence rails the night before the 1860 State Republican Convention. The second mansion is the one still in existence. Governor Oglesby had the Mansion built around 1875, based partially on plans of the Chicago architect William LeBaron Jenny. The Mansion's history included a visit by Civil War General and former President Ulysses S. Grant in 1880. From a veranda he spoke to a crowd during a veterans' reunion. The photo (right) shows the 1st mansion attached to the 2nd. Oglesby sold it all in 1882, moving to Lincoln, Illinois.

HM NumberHM12JC
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 11:26pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 332236 N 4412217
Decimal Degrees39.84341667, -88.96083333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 50.605', W 88° 57.65'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 50' 36.30" N, 88° 57' 39.00" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 401-461 W William St, Decatur IL 62522, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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