Lincoln & Governor Duncan

Lincoln & Governor Duncan (HM133F)

Location: Jacksonville, IL 62650 Morgan County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 44.132', W 90° 14.959'

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Abraham Lincoln won his elected office, a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives in 1834. That same year Joseph Duncan of Jacksonville was elected Governor of Illinois. Before you stands the home of Joseph Duncan, which became the official Governor's residence from 1835-1838. It is the only remaining Governor's mansion in Illinois other than the one in Springfield. Lincoln and Duncan both belonged to the Whig Party, which was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party. In particular, the Whigs supported a strong central government, a national bank, a protective tariff, and internal improvements at governmental expense. In 1840, Lincoln and Duncan spent a considerable amount of time together, promoting the principles of the Whig Party in southern Illinois. Governor Duncan was defeated, however, in 1842 in his second bid for the governorship, the only political defeat in his career. Poll book records show Abraham Lincoln cast his ballot for Duncan both times he sought the governorship.

Construction began on the Duncan Mansion in 1833. It was one of the earliest and grandest homes on the Illinois prairie. Governor Duncan and his wife, Elizabeth, hosted many famous people, including Daniel Webster, General John j. Hardin, and Stephen Douglas. From 1865 to 1875, the Mansion was home for an experimental state school for the education of "feeble-minded children." In 1920, the Rev. James Caldwell Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution purchased the mansion, and they have maintained it ever since.

Joseph Duncan is noted for his heroic service in the War of 1812, his contributions as a state senator and United States Representative (1827-1834)—-and his term as Illinois sixth governor. During his career Duncan was a strong advocate for free public education. He also helped in passing federal and state legislation for the construction of the Illinois-Michigan Canal, connecting Lake Michigan and the Mississippi. Joseph met Elizabeth Caldwell Smith in 1828 at a dinner hosted by President John Q. Adams. In her diary, Mrs. Duncan recalled the evening and wrote: "I wore to dinner a crimson-silk dress, thread-lace ruffle at my throat, embroidered-silk stockings, and satin slippers, the color of my dress. My hair I wore in three puffs on the top of my head, three puffs on each side and a high carved tortoise-shell comb."

HM NumberHM133F
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 1:38pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 735717 N 4402023
Decimal Degrees39.73553333, -90.24931667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 44.132', W 90° 14.959'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 44' 7.92" N, 90° 14' 57.54" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2-76 Duncan Park, Jacksonville IL 62650, US
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