Wednesday, September 19, 2007
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Church researching a new connection to Abraham Lincoln          Send a link to a friend

Lincoln Christian Church examines fame from its past

[September 19, 2007]  A vanished plaque was said to have proclaimed that Abraham Lincoln practiced law in the original Lincoln Christian Church. After months of searching and research, a photo of the plaque was finally found as it hung in front of the city library in 1975. The plaque said that Abraham Lincoln practiced law in Lincoln Christian Church after the Logan County Courthouse burned down in 1857.

The plaque reads:

Pending erection of a new courthouse for Logan County to replace the one destroyed by fire in 1857, the original Christian Church built on this site that year was used as both Church and Circuit Courthouse and there Abraham Lincoln practiced law and by common consent acted as temporary judge and the materials in the original church was preserved and used in the present church in 1904.

If the claim is confirmed, Lincoln Christian Church would be the only church that would have this kind of link to the 16th president.

Lincoln Christian Church is currently working on a series: "An Insiders Look at Lincoln Christian Church." The church plans to use this series to celebrate its historic past and announce ministry plans for the future. The series is what prompted Lincoln Christian Church to pursue the rumor that the plaque existed.

The validity of that claim has not been confirmed. The church is seeking information on the whereabouts of the plaque and display.

The church also located records of Lincoln's law cases that he would have practiced in the first building of Lincoln Christian Church in the spring term of 1858. One of the cases reported was when Lincoln served as judge in place of Judge David Davis. These were found in the Lincoln legal papers in Springfield.

Over 1,000 attended when the announcements were made Sept. 9 to mark this exciting discovery at Lincoln Christian Church. 

The picture of the plaque, along with other memorabilia, is encased in the family room at the church. The items in the case included two newspapers dating in the 1950s, the Lincoln Evening Courier and the State Journal Register. The newspapers contained pictures of Lincoln Christian Church's historic bootjack and fireplace tools. These items were allegedly used by Lincoln. The items had been donated to the church by a justice of the peace from that era, J.Q. Primm.

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The congregation was very excited about their possible link to Abraham Lincoln. The Sept. 9 service highlighted several historical aspects of their church, such as the original bell that still hangs in Lincoln Christian Church's newest building. Other items were pictures of famous ministers of the past, an offering plate from the first building, and letters and documents on the history of the Restoration Movement. The letters are correspondence from the Disciples of Christ and churches that are now independent Christian churches. The letters detailed the reasons the people who later became the Independent Christian Church left the Disciples.

Records of the great reformist Alexander Campbell visiting Lincoln Christian Church were also a noteworthy part of the service. He and his father, Thomas Campbell, were key people in starting the Restoration Movement, the movement that Lincoln Christian Church came out of.

Lincoln Christian Church plans to pursue recognition from the Illinois State Historical Society for this discovery. Lincoln Christian Church's connection to Abraham Lincoln is unique to any church, and is certainly noteworthy in history.

[Information from church news release; Jenna Gleason]

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