— Looking for Lincoln —
During the twenty years Abraham Lincoln attended the DeWitt County Court on the Eighth Judicial Circuit, he and Clifton H. Moore, Clinton's first resident attorney, developed a deep friendship as well as a mutual law practice.
The two men shared many similarities, each achieving his law degree through diligent independent study rather than university education. Both had abilities for surveying land. Lincoln used his skills in New Salem days; Moore used his knowledge in the purchase of large tracts of farmland.
Both had a great appreciation for books, Moore acquiring the largest private library in downstate Illinois. Lincoln, also an avid reader, despite his limited one-year classroom education, had a great thirst for knowledge and often perused a book during his long, bumpy circuit rides. But Moore preferred the comforts of home, restricting his practice to Clinton and the vicinity.
Lincoln thrived on circuit life, making many friends who helped further his political ambitions. When the Republican Party chose Lincoln for President, Moore was a major supporter.
The shocking and sad news of Lincoln's assassination prompted the congregation of the Clinton Presbyterian Church to hold services of mourning on April 17, 1865. Rev. A. J. Clark gave a sermon followed by an eloquent eulogy delivered by Clifton H. Moore.
"The Clinton Public" reported that his speech "paid a just tribute to the noble dead, counseled moderation on the part of the people and built up the hopes of all loyal hearts." Perhaps Moore's most meaningful statements concerning Lincoln were, "In him, next to God, we trusted. Trusted in his honesty, that was never tarnished . . . trusted in his mercy . . . . Above all, we trusted him because he had power and had not abused it."
A steady knell of all the church bells followed their services, accentuating the grief felt by all.