Douglas - Lincoln Debates

Douglas - Lincoln Debates (HMFT4)

Location: Bement, IL 61813 Piatt County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 55.399', W 88° 34.312'

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— Looking for Lincoln —

Lincoln wrote Douglas on July 24, 1858, challenging him "to divide time and address the same audiences" during the campaign. The Senator suggested seven locations, adding, "I will confer with you at the earliest convenient opportunity in regard to the mode of conducting the debate, the times of meeting at the several places?."When it was learned that Douglas would speak in Monticello, July 29, 1858, Bryant invited Senator and Mrs. Douglas to an overnight stay. The couples traveled to Monticello early on July 29, 1858. After a successful meeting, they returned to Bement.When the Bryant carriage was about one mile south of Monticello, they met a prairie schooner. Douglas remarked, "There comes Lincoln; I wish to speak to him a moment." Douglas asked if he had received his letter. Lincoln replied favorably, asking where they might later confer. Bryant invited Lincoln to his home in Bement. After his speech in Monticello, Lincoln hurried to Bement. The meeting in Bryant's parlor allowed Lincoln and Douglas to confer and agree on debate details.

Douglas' letter (written from the Bryant home), was headed "Bement, Piatt County, Illinois, July 30, 1858." It confirmed the details of their evening meeting, designating the dates and places of the seven debates. It included a description of the mode in which the debates would operate. Lincoln responded to Douglas' letter on July 31, 1858, writing, "Although by the terms, as you propose, you take four openings and closes, to my three, I accede, and thus close the arrangement."

Born in 1818, Francis E. Bryant was the son of a New Hampshire farmer who migrated to the state of Ohio in 1833. Young Francis received little formal education, but he did study the profession of surveying. He left Ohio, settled in Rushville, Schuyler County, Illinois, courted and married Sarah Briscoe of Kentucky. They moved to Bement in 1856. Bryant became a merchant, banker, and civic leader.

Along with Bryant's economic success came political influence. He served as Bement's postmaster and mayor. A prominent Democrat, he served two terms in the Illinois legislature. The most striking evidence of Bryant's political prestige was his friendship with Stephen A. Douglas. Bryant was part of a statewide network of small-town businessmen upon whom Senator Douglas depended for support.
HM NumberHMFT4
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Year Placed2009
Placed BySue Plummer Loveridge & Sunshine in Memory of Family, Clark (Dingy), Lyndal, & Ray Plummer
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 1st, 2014 at 11:39pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 365672 N 4420428
Decimal Degrees39.92331667, -88.57186667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 55.399', W 88° 34.312'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 55' 23.94" N, 88° 34' 18.72" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100-198 E Wilson St, Bement IL 61813, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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