Lincoln's Honored Friend

Lincoln's Honored Friend (HM13WT)

Location: Quincy, IL 62301 Adams County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 55.922', W 91° 24.449'

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"Archie Williams was one of the strongest-minded and clearest-minded men in Illinois" (A. Lincoln). Lincoln and his friend Archibald Williams had much in common. Both were born in Kentucky and moved to Illinois. Williams coming to Quincy in 1829. Like Lincoln, Williams was self-educated and became a highly successful attorney. The two men served together in the state legislature as dedicated Whig politicians. Williams from 1832 to 1840. Williams was a United States District Attorney from 1849 to 1853. in 1854 he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives as an outspoken opponent of the recently passed Kansas-Nebraska Act. His opponent was Quincyan William A. Richardson, one of the architects of the bill, which repealed the Missouri Compromise. Williams ran as a Free-Soil candidate, committed to the non-expansion of slavery. Sharing this political philosophy, Lincoln made his first documented trip to Quincy in 1854 to speak in support of Williams' candidacy at Kendall Hall. Lincoln delivered a rousing speech condemning the Kansas-Nebraska Act and urged the election of Williams. Richardson narrowly defeated Williams in the election. Subsequently, Lincoln and Williams gravitated to the new Republican Party.

Williams was considered one of Illinois' foremost attorneys and politicians for more than thirty years. Like Lincoln, Williams was less than handsome, causing a visitor who saw them together to ask, "Who...are those two ugly men:" A friend k.K. Jones, honoring Williams described him as "...not an orator, but a thinker; a student, a cool, clear-headed lawyer....He was a modest, unassuming, unselfish man."

As a legislator in 1836 Lincoln voted to elect Williams U.S. Senator, and Lincoln spoke in Quincy on behalf of Williams' 1854 Congressional campaign. Both of Lincoln's endorsements failed. As president Lincoln was finally able to reward his long-time friend, appointing Williams the first United States District judge of Kansas in 1861, one of Lincoln's first appointments after his Cabinet. Lincoln reportedly offered Williams a position on the U.S. Supreme Court, which Williams modestly declined as not being qualified. Serving as judge in Kansas, Williams was involved in sensitive negotiations with the resident Delaware Indians, helping to achieve their security. Lincoln authorized funds for purchase of Delaware Indian land and asked Senator Orville Browning of Quincy to help get Senate approval of the treaty. Williams, who died in 1863, enjoyed a thirty-year friendship with Lincoln.

HM NumberHM13WT
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at 8:05am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 636074 N 4421427
Decimal Degrees39.93203333, -91.40748333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 55.922', W 91° 24.449'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 55' 55.32" N, 91° 24' 26.94" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100-198 Jail Alley, Quincy IL 62301, US
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