Lincoln's Friend Johnston

Lincoln's Friend Johnston (HM13WY)

Location: Quincy, IL 62301 Adams County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 55.955', W 91° 24.574'

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Quincy lawyer and newspaper editor Andrew Johnston became acquainted with Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois Legislature when Lincoln served as representative and Johnson as assistant clerk. Like Lincoln, a Whig, Johnston was a law partner of Lincoln favorite Archibald Williams of Quincy. They later became more closely associated through the medium of poetry. Johnston called upon Lincoln's law partner, John Todd Stuart, in 1841 to help Johnston's nephew George Pickett win an appointment to West Point. Pickett was admitted, perhaps with Lincoln's influence. Pickett later won fame as the Confederate General who led "Pickett's Charge". at Gettysburg. Johnston left Quincy in the 1850's, returning to Richmond, Virginia. At the end of the Civil War, Johnston made two requests of Lincoln. In early 1865 President Lincoln granted Johnston's appeal to exchange a Confederate relative held as a prisoner. Johnston tried unsuccessfully to see Lincoln while he was in Richmond at the close of the war, learning later that Lincoln had asked about him. In an April 11 letter, Johnston asked Lincoln for a letter of protection for his family. Lincoln was assassinated three days later.

The Quincy Whig building was situated on the west side of Washington Square. Its second floor offices were often the center of activities for Quincy's Whig, later Republican, partisans and visiting political colleagues. When Andrew Johnston and Nehemiah Bushnell, both lawyers and loyal Whigs, established the newspaper in 1838, they followed the day's journalistic custom to be respectful of manners but to show no such courtesy for the political opposition. The Whig often bitterly opposed the Democratic message of the rival newspaper, The Quincy Herald.

Johnston received several letters from Lincoln from 1846-1847. "Friend Johnston," as Lincoln regularly addressed him, had acted as a literary advisor for others. While exchanging letters about poetry, Lincoln told Johnston he had written some poetry—-or "doggerel," as he called it—-about a return to Spencer County, Indiana, where he had grown up, where a classmate had become insane, and where his mother and sister were buried. Lincoln agreed to Johnston's request to publish the poetry and noted that he was "not at all displeased." The two poems, "My Childhood Home I see Again" and "The Maniac," appeared in the May 6, 1847, issue of the Quincy Whig. To avoid the risk of ridicule, Lincoln asked Johnston to publish his poetry anonymously. Johnston complied. "The Bear Hunt" was later published in the Richmond Evening News after Johnston returned to Virginia.

HM NumberHM13WY
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 10:26am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 635895 N 4421485
Decimal Degrees39.93258333, -91.40956667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 55.955', W 91° 24.574'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 55' 57.30" N, 91° 24' 34.44" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 101 N 5th St, Quincy IL 62301, US
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