Calendar | Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County

City to be re-christened Aug. 27

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[August 19, 2008]  Abraham Lincoln christened the city of Lincoln on Aug. 27, 1853, and this year on that same day the city will be re-christened as part of the celebration of the upcoming bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, in 2009. The re-enactment will take place at 1 p.m. Aug. 27 at the christening scene, located at 101 N. Chicago St. (corner of Broadway and Chicago). The ceremony is expected to last about 20 minutes.

RestaurantLincoln, Ill., came into existence when prairie lawyer Abraham Lincoln christened his namesake town site with the juice of a watermelon poured from a tin cup before the sale of town lots began. It was the construction of the Alton-to-Chicago railroad line through Logan County that became the pivotal pint for the platting of the town in 1853, and Abraham Lincoln was the attorney for the railroad at that time.

On hand that day for the brief ceremony were Abraham Lincoln; Virgil Hickox, a director of the railroad; John D. Gillett, a local farmer and landowner; and Robert B. Latham, sheriff of Logan County. Also on hand were many citizens of Postville, the existing town that Lincoln would be platted around. A stack of watermelons brought by Henry Snyder happened to be at the scene of the christening. A young boy named John Stevens was also on hand to witness the event and later wrote an account of it.


Thus, of the many cities throughout the country that would have Lincoln's name later on, the one in Illinois was the first, and it was the only community christened by Abraham Lincoln personally. He was at first reluctant to have the town named after him, saying that "anything named Lincoln never amounted to much." The city of Lincoln is certainly glad he changed his mind!

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Portraying Abraham Lincoln for the ceremony will be acclaimed Lincoln interpreter Greg Bergschneider from Jacksonville. Members of the Logan Railsplitting Association will portray the other key figures on hand that day. Daris Knauer will portray Robert Latham; Robert Presswood will portray John D. Gillett; Casey Ballinger will portray Virgil Hickox; and Austin Leonard will portray the young boy, John Stevens.

The christening scene is located downtown at the approximate location of the actual event and features one of the first Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits in the state. The scene also happens to be located on one of the earlier alignments of Route 66 through the community.

This event is sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln. The public is invited, and school field trips are encouraged.

For more details on this and other Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial events, call 217-732-8687 or visit

[Text from file received from Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County]



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