This sign was spearheaded by the Mount Pulaski Abraham Lincoln 200th
Birthday Bicentennial Committee, which was a coming together of Mount
Pulaski's Looking for Lincoln Committee and Mount Pulaski's Township
This group has sponsored the collection of jars of pennies by the
Mount Pulaski Grade School students; hosted Katherine Harris for her
one-woman presentation in the personage of Harriet Tubman -- a
dramatic account of what it was like for an emancipated black woman
to live in Lincoln's time; and sponsored the Firefly Art Gallery during
the Mount Pulaski Fall Festival the past two years.
Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln were patrons of the arts, especially plays
and concerts. In their honor, the community hosted the 11th
Illinois Cavalry Company G and the 10th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry
Regiment Band concert on the courthouse lawn during the past fall
festival. The community also created and produced the "1854 Cast Iron
Tombstone Trial Re-enactment," which will perform for the ninth time
this Sunday at 2 p.m. For the second time, Joe Woodard,
professional Abraham Lincoln impersonator, will perform.
Finally, the Mount Pulaski bicentennial committee is currently
working on the installation of a bandstand on the courthouse lawn,
similar to the one that adorned the courthouse square from the
1880s through the 1940s.
The committee has many people to thank -- local business and
private family sponsors, researchers, advisers, and installers.
Speakers at the sign dedication included Mount Pulaski Mayor Bill
Glaze; Hal Smith, director of the Looking for Lincoln Heritage
Coalition; Tom Martin, chairman of the Looking for Lincoln
Heritage Coalition; Joel Smiley, executive director of the Lincoln
& Logan County Development Partnership; Geoff Ladd, executive
director of Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County; Wanda Rohlfs,
director of Main Street Lincoln and member of the Lincoln/Logan County
Chamber of Commerce; and Paul Beaver, Lincoln College history
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Both Rohlfs and Beaver spoke of their close ties with Mount Pulaski, as
their spouses were born and raised there. Beaver related that
Mount Pulaski always supported Abraham Lincoln in his quest for
political offices and once sent over 50 wagons in addition to people
on horseback, horse and buggy, and foot to nearby Lincoln for Abe's
speech on Oct. 16, 1858.
Smith spoke of how Mount Pulaski has literally put their
arms around their vintage courthouse in an ever-continuing embrace
over the years, in remembrance of Abraham Lincoln's work and visits
here in the 1840s and 1850s. The sign depicts some of those Mount Pulaskians who were friends with Mr. Lincoln and gladly boarded him
on his court visits.
The sign also relates two trials that were held here: the "1854
Cast Iron Tombstone Trial" and the "1855 Horological Cradle Case
Trial." Lincoln was defense lawyer in both trials. Both were appealed to the Illinois State Supreme Court in 1862.
Perhaps President Lincoln had time to read about the outcome of
these appeals in a letter from his old law partner, William Herndon
-- perhaps not. Nevertheless, we do know that in the same year Lincoln did have time to appoint his old friend Judge
David Davis to the United States Supreme Court.
[Text and picture from file received from Phil Bertoni]