(Jan) Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in Kentucky and moved with his family when he was a young lad to a one room cabin in Little Pigeon Creek, Indiana. There he was expected to work hard and contribute to the support of his family. His mother died when he was 9. His father remarried and Lincoln got on quite well with his stepmother Sarah. Along with his chores he loved to read. He was tall and strong for his age and was expected to give his wages to his father until the age of 21. The family moved to Illinois in 1830 and as the family prepared to move again in 1831, Lincoln was old enough to set out on his own. In New Salem, Illinois he worked on the rivers between there and New Orleans delivering goods, co-owned a general store, was the Post Master, a Surveyor and began to teach himself to be a lawyer. He ran for political office for the first time in 1932. Although he was unsuccessful, he ran again in 1934, was elected and served four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1836 Lincoln began practicing Law. He met his future wife, Mary Todd in 1838 and they were married in 1842. They bought the only house they would ever own in Springfield on the corner of 8th and Jackson Streets close to his Law Office. Children Robert, 1843, Edward, 1846, Willie 1850 and Tad 1853 were all born in Springfield. Lincoln and Mary loved children and were permissive and active parents. They were heart broken when their son Edward died in 1850 of Tuberculosis.
All of this and so much more can be found on the history of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in Springfield. Lincoln’s Home and neighborhood is within a National Park. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Lincoln movie at the visitors center, going through the Lincoln home and touring his neighborhood including several of his neighbor’s houses. We were there on April 15, 2015, 150 years after President Lincoln’s death on April 15, 1865. His home was draped in black as it had been for his funeral years earlier.
The Lincoln Museum and Presidential Library are downtown. The Museum takes you through his early years, family times, political history, their time in the While House, son Willie’s death from Typhoid Fever, the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation and Lincoln’s Assassination on April 14, 1865. He was 56 years old. Mary, age 46, was sitting by his side holding his arm as they watched ‘Our American Cousin’ at Fords Theatre in Washington, D.C. The Civil War had just ended 6 days before.
When Lincoln died, Mary requested that he be buried at the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. After funeral services in Washington, D.C. the President’s body was taken by train back to Illinois where funeral services were again held and he was buried in a temporary vault on May 1, 1865. Lincoln’s casket was moved into a white marble sarcophagus in the burial room in the present Lincoln Tomb in 1874. He is buried there with his wife Mary and three of their sons, Edward, William and Thomas.
While we were in Springfield we visited the Old State Capitol and the Capitol Complex where Illinois’ Governor and legislatures now meet. Lincoln worked in both of these buildings. On the day that we were there, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was speaking at a Holocast Remembrance in the old Legislative Chamber. At the ‘new’ Illinois Capitol Building we were able to visit the Senate in session. The new Illinois Capitol building inside and out is truly impressive.
We have wanted to go to Springfield, Illinois for quite a while and are so happy that we had time to visit ‘the Land of Lincoln.’ While we were there we stayed at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. They have parking both on pavement and on grass. FHU sites were $20/night for seniors. It was fairly quiet and very close to downtown and to Oak Ridge Cemetery.
In this lifestyle we are often asked, “What’s your favorite place that you’ve been?” The Lincoln History sites and Springfield is one of them.