Lincoln in Monticello

Lincoln in Monticello (HMFT1)

Location: Monticello, IL 61856 Piatt County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 1.481', W 88° 34.309'

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— Looking for Lincoln —

The Tenbrook Hotel, the building shown on the right-hand side of the photo (which was taken at the end of the Civil War), was the site where Lincoln and other members of the bar lodged when traversing the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Lincoln traveled this circuit to Monticello from 1845 to 1858. Lincoln and Judge David Davis were the only lawyers who traveled all the way around the complete circuit, which was estimated to amount to a journey of two hundred miles, all of it over muddy roads and prairie trails. The Tenbrook Hotel is located at the spot where the Dairy Queen now stands.

According to Mrs. Caleb Tatman, Lincoln was the life of the party when the members of the bar were boarding at the Tenbrook (Tavern) Hotel while the circuit court was in session. Lincoln was responsible for creating quite a scene when he persuaded some children, who were playing with a pig's bladder, which had been blown up and tied securely, to heat the "balloon" in the fireplace. The "balloon" blew up and scattered coals from the fire all over the room. When Lincoln tried to sweep up the hot coals, the broom caught on fire and was completely ruined. At this point, Lincoln discovered that he was overdue at court and rushed from the scene. A new broom had to be ordered from Springfield. In Lincoln's day hotels were quite primitive. John P. Tenbrook was the son of Abraham and Catherine (Piatt) Tenbrook. John and his wife moved to Monticello in 1838. The original Tenbrook Hotel, built in 1839, was a one-room cabin with a shed addition. When Lincoln stayed there, in the 1840's and 1850's, it had grown to seven or eight rooms. It was the first hotel in Monticello.

The courthouse played a prominent role in the downtown. The original courthouse 1839 - 1853, began as a two-room building used by a tailor when court was not in session. It was often remarked that the suits the tailor made were more important than many of the suits tried by the courts.The original building was known as the Devore House or Old Fort. It was located on West Washington St. The first Piatt County Circuit Court was held May 1, 1841. The second courthouse, 1856 - 1903, pictured in the drawing, was located in the center of the Square. The present courthouse was built in 1903. The watercolor of the downtown was done by Dale Summers in 1937 for the centennial, based on an 1860 drawing by Thomas Moffit.
HM NumberHMFT1
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Year Placed2009
Placed ByCity of Monticello and Monticello Chamber of Commerce
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 8:15pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 365875 N 4431680
Decimal Degrees40.02468333, -88.57181667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 1.481', W 88° 34.309'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 1' 28.86" N, 88° 34' 18.54" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 101-199 E Main St, Monticello IL 61856, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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