Circuit Court Stop

Circuit Court Stop (HMRMF)

Location: Mt Pulaski, IL 62548 Logan County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 0.546', W 89° 17.089'

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Mid-19th Century Lawyers riding the eighth judicial circuit sometimes found that local accommodations left much to be desired. If they were lucky, a prosperous local resident would invite them into their home. If not, they were at the mercy of local tavern owners. Abraham Lincoln's good friend, circuit judge David Davis, wrote his wife in April 1851 about the Mt. Pulaski House Hotel (the town's first brick building that once stood directly across the street on the north corner): "...The tavern at Pulaski is perhaps the hardest place you ever saw...Everything dirty & the eating Horrible...Lincoln, Stuart & everybody else from Springfield [are here]. The old woman looked as we would suppose the witch of Endor looked. She has a grown daughter, who waited on the table-table greasy, table cloth greasy, floor greasy and everything else ditto. The girl was dressed in red calico...I wonder if she ever washed herself. I guess dirt must be an inch thick all over her..." Interestingly, Lincoln himself seldom if ever complained about the crude conditions he and his companions often encountered on their circuit travels.

Abraham Lincoln in his own hand drafted the original legislative bill that created Logan County. The county became part of the Eighth judicial circuit in 1839—-which circuit became the primary locus of Lincoln's traveling law practice. Whenever court came to town commotions ensued. People in the streets surrounding the courthouse square could often hear lawyers shouting in the second floor courtroom. Newcomers were known to nervously inquire whether a fire, a riot or a murder was in progress! "An investigation would disclose an attorney within arms length of the jury using his vocal energies to the utmost...while indulging in physical gymnastics" that endangered the eyes of the jury members.

Lizzie Lushbaugh retained vivid memories of Lincoln's visit to her father's Mt. Pulaski home when he traveled here for circuit court. The Thomas P. Lushbaugh family had previously been Springfield neighbors of the Lincolns. "When Mr. Lincoln at at our table his hair was always rumpled and he was constantly running his long fingers through it," Lizzie recalled. While Lincoln kept up a lively conversation, it was her duty to keep flies off the table by "swinging a brush made of fancy paper cut in strips" since there were no insect screens. Lincoln was also friends of Jebez Capps—-one of Mt. Pulaski's earliest pioneers. When Capps first arrived his family slept on beds of cut prairie grass and cooked food over the hole of an old wolf's den.

Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Year Placed2010
Placed ByLooking For Lincoln Heritage coalition
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 8:10am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 304985 N 4431267
Decimal Degrees40.00910000, -89.28481667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 0.546', W 89° 17.089'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 0' 32.76" N, 89° 17' 5.34" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100-198 S Washington St, Mt Pulaski IL 62548, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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