Lincoln and Agriculture

Lincoln and Agriculture (HM1395)

Location: Carthage, IL 62321 Hancock County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 24.732', W 91° 8.1'

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Agricultural life has defined the very essence of Hancock County from the earliest days of its Anglo-American settlement. Lincoln, however, seemed indifferent to agriculture. Once he left his father's home, Lincoln never farmed again. But he came to respect the enlightened practice of "scientific" husbandry that in his time came to characterize much of American agriculture, including here in Hancock County where Lincoln's uncle and several cousins were farmers in nearby Fountain Green. Lincoln urged "deeper plowing, analysis of soils, experiments with manures, and varieties of seeds." He delighted in the ingenuity of labor-saving farm implements and championed the "application of steam power to farm work." This attitude made him an important supporter of the agricultural land grant college system. Speaking before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society he declared: ", being the most numerous class, it follows that their interest is the largest interest. It also follows that that interest is most worthy of all to be cherished and cultivated..."

The original Hancock County Commissioner's Court Seal adopted in 1833—-featuring a plow and steamboat—-reflected the dream of burgeoning agrarian markets that motivated the early Anglo-American settlers in this region. Farmers used oxen or horses to pull the plows that turned over the prairie. Oxen were steady and strong, though horses were preferred because they were faster. Yet as late as 1835 early settlers were still feeding their horses grass cut from the open prairie where the courthouse now stands.

"Keep a strict outlook over the prairie towards Nauvoo," the captain of the Carthage Greys ordered fourteen-year old William R. Hamilton, son of the Hamilton House proprietor, as he scampered up to the courthouse cupola at midday on June 27, 1844. Earlier Governor Thomas Ford had detailed the Greys to guard the Mormon leaders Joseph and Hyrum Smith incarcerated in the Carthage jail—-(two blocks northwest of here). The Greys were encamped on the southwest corner of the courthouse square—-and were apparently unprepared several hours later when young Hamilton shouted that a body of armed men was approaching the jail. "I have always thought the officers and some privates were working for delay," Hamilton stated years later. "The company finally reached the jail, but not until after the mob had completed their work."

HM NumberHM1395
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 12th, 2014 at 7:11pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 658238 N 4475178
Decimal Degrees40.41220000, -91.13500000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 24.732', W 91° 8.1'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 24' 43.92" N, 91° 8' 6.00" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 544 Wabash Ave, Carthage IL 62321, US
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