Lincoln The Lawyer

Lincoln The Lawyer (HM7ZH)

Location: Bloomington, IL 61701 McLean County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 28.785', W 88° 59.613'

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" A Rustic on his First Visit "

— Looking for Lincoln —

"A rustic on his first visit to the circus" is how John W. Baddeley, an English immigrant farmer described Abraham Lincoln on his first visit to the McLean County Courthouse as a young attorney in the summer of 1837. Lincoln was wearing "ill-fitting homespun clothes, the trousers a little too short, and the coat a trifle too large." Baddeley summarily dismissed the "country bumpkin" lawyer who had been sent by his senior partner, John Todd Stuart, to represent the Englishman. Despite this initial reaction, Lincoln later represented Baddeley in numerous matters. Lincoln appeared often at the courthouse as an attorney and as a political speaker. Undoubtedly, his best-known appearance in the courthouse was as the victorious attorney in The Illinois Central Rail Road v. McLean County case (1853). In a landmark decision, the Illinois Supreme Court, on appeal, ruled the Illinois General Assembly had the constitutional right to exempt the railroad's property from taxation. Called by his partner, William H. Herndon, their "most important case," the two attorneys divided the $5,000 fee equally between them.

This Federal Style Structure was erected I 1836, serving until it was replaced by the third courthouse in 1868. Often referred to as "coffee mill courthouses," this architectural style was common in the Midwest. The McLean County Courthouse, designed and built by Leander Munsell, was located on the southwest corner of this block. Lincoln often appeared here as an attorney and as an orator, giving speeches on the lawn, between 1837 and 1860 - - - the year he was elected sixteenth President of the United States.

On Sunday, April 16, 1865, following numerous funeral sermons in the city's churches, one of the largest crowds gathered on the courthouse lawn to mourn the death of President Lincoln. Journalist Ida Tarbell observed: "Elsewhere it was only a President, a national leader, who had been lost; here it was a personal friend, and people refused to be comforted.... people gathered in the yard about the court-house, where for years they had been accustomed to see Lincoln coming and going. ..." Two weeks later, crowds gathered along the Chicago and Alton Rail Road line to pay homage to the dead President as the Lincoln Funeral passed through Bloomington on its way to Springfield and Lincoln's final resting place.
HM NumberHM7ZH
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Year Placed2008
Placed ByLooking for Lincoln Heritage Commission and the City of Bloomington
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 11th, 2014 at 2:18am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 331022 N 4482915
Decimal Degrees40.47975000, -88.99355000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 28.785', W 88° 59.613'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 28' 47.10" N, 88° 59' 36.78" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)309
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 201-299 N Main St, Bloomington IL 61701, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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