Wednesday, September 09, 2009
sponsored by Graue Inc.

Mount Pulaski to celebrate relationship with Abraham Lincoln this weekend

Send a link to a friend

[September 09, 2009]  MOUNT PULASKI -- The Mount Pulaski Township Historical Society will play a big role in this year's fall festival. In honor of the 200th birthday of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, the festival will bring back to remembrance from those days of old the connection the president had to Mount Pulaski families and to the town, with a special emphasis on the founding fathers.

The village of Mount Pulaski was founded by Jabez Capps, Dr. Barton Robinson and E.W. Turley in 1836. One of the most prized pieces at the historical society's museum is a transcribed copy of a letter written by the daughter of Thomas Lushbaugh, who married one of Jabez Capps' sons. In the letter she recounts her father's friendship with "Mister Lincoln" when they lived across the street from one another in Springfield.

In the 1840s the Lushbaughs moved to Mount Pulaski, and the friendship with Lincoln continued as he became a resident of the Lushbaugh home twice a year when he traveled to Mount Pulaski for court sessions.

And how the society came to have a copy of the letter is an interesting story in itself. James Hickey, now deceased, was the curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Springfield Historical Library. James and Betty Hickey had the privilege of knowing and visiting the home of the last Abraham Lincoln descendant, Robert Todd Beckwith. Beckwith and the Hickeys became good friends and spent time together on several occasions.


Beckwith was the great-grandson of Lincoln and lived in a huge mansion at Hildene at Manchester, Vt. It was there that James Hickey found the letter from Elizabeth Lushbaugh Capps and brought it back to the museum at Springfield.

Betty Hickey recalls her visits to the Beckwith mansion while accompanying her husband, and she has pictures of the Lincoln descendant and his home.

In another Lincoln connection, Waneta Stephens told the Mount Pulaski Historical Society at their August meeting that she has stories that have been passed down through the generations about her great-great-grandparents' relationship with the Lincolns.

Stephens family stories include how they were neighbors to the Lincolns and that their children all played together. Her family members have also passed down through the generations their recollections of being present for the arrival of the Lincoln funeral train as it traveled into Springfield for the burial of the president.

During this year's fall festival, visitors who stop in at the Mount Pulaski Historical Museum on Saturday afternoon, after the parade, may be able to hear Hickey and Stephens recall some of these Lincoln memories.

[to top of second column]

Auto Sales

The museum also offers a complete section on the life of Lincoln from his time spent in Mount Pulaski through his presidency and assassination. Artifacts include a steel engraving of Lincoln that was the model for the portrait on the $5 bill, a photograph of Lincoln taken in 1860, a copy of the Lincoln family tree, documents concerning the famous Cast Iron Tombstone Trial in Mount Pulaski, an original photo of the construction of Lincoln's Tomb and several other items of interest.

In addition to all this, the historical society is sponsoring the afternoon entertainment at the new bandstand on the courthouse lawn. Chris Vallilla, who performs every year at Postville Courthouse in Lincoln during the art and balloon festival, will do a musical presentation called "Abraham Lincoln in song." The presentation will begin immediately after the fall parade, around 2:30 in the afternoon. The public is encouraged to bring their lawn chairs or blankets, rest a spell, and listen to some wonderful old-time folk music.

And finally, the society will continue their fundraising efforts for a lift-chair system to transport disabled visitors to the second floor of the museum. Outside the museum there will be a stand selling popcorn, donated by Bo-Jac Seed Co., and tickets for a 50-50 drawing.

The lift system is expected to cost between $6,000 and $7,000. The group is applying for some grant funding but still needs to raise the required matching funds.

This year's festival is packed with tons of things for everyone of every age, all carefully planned to celebrate a small-town community with a large love for life and its citizenry.

For a schedule of the weekend events, click here.


Postscript notice: Phil Bertoni has also asked that LDN share with readers that Roger Capps, the great-great-grandson of one of Mount Pulaski's founding fathers, Jabez Capps, will be in Mount Pulaski in September and will speak at the historical society meeting on Sept. 28. Anyone interested in hearing him is invited to attend. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the museum, 102-104 E. Cooke St.

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor