Looking For Lincoln: Jacksonville
The companion tour for "Looking for Lincoln's" wayside exhibits in Jacksonville, IL.
Whipple Hall was built in 1882, and is named after Dr. Samuel L. Whipple. Whipple hall was originally called Whipple academy, and was used as a prep school for students wishing to attend Illinois College.
Beecher Hall is a building of firsts for Illinois. It was the state's first college campus building, and it housed the original medical school in Illinois. Beecher Hall also represents Illinois College's anti-slavery roots.
The David A. Smith House has significant history to not only Jacksonville, IL, but to Illinois College. David A. Smith a lawyer, but also a trustee of Illinois College from 1842 until death do him part in 1865. His home that was built in 1854 is used today for the meeting space for the women’s literary societies at the college. It also is a popular destination for tourists and research scholars interested in studying the period of the 1850s and 1860s. In addition to being a part of Illinois College, Smith was also a colleague of our sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln had legal business in Jacksonville the David A. Smith House was where his law office was held.
The Governor Duncan mansion is located just one mile away from the center of Jacksonville, at the corner of Webster and Lafayette. It is especially significant for being the official Illinois State Governor’s mansion, not just Duncan’s mansion, as there was no mansion in the state capital, Vandalia, at that time. Construction began on this house back in 1833, but it would not be completed until 1835, the year after Joseph Duncan was elected Governor of Illinois. The home is of Georgian architecture with a definite Colonial design. The roof, in particular, was sourced from the American colonies from the mid-18th century. During the mid-1830’s this house was the place to be. Joseph Duncan, born in 1794, had served in the war of 1812 and had been elected to Congress in 1826 before becoming the governor of Illinois. The building’s design was inspired from the Washington D.C home of Matthew St. Clair Clark, who served on the U.S house of representatives for many years. Of course, as it was quite the spectacle, Duncan hosted many a social gathering there. These people include Daniel Webster and his wife, Alexander Hamilton, and Colonel John J. Hardin. But by far the most famous person who showed up on the Duncan doorstep was none other than Abraham Lincoln. According to the form that was submitted to the national register of historic places, Abe Lincoln became associated with the governor when he was serving as the Sangamon county representative in the Illinois legislature. They apparently became very close, with Lincoln having voted for him three times during Duncan’s career in the government. Sadly, Duncan passed away in 1844, which means that he wasn’t able to do the same for him. It also meant that he wouldn’t be able to see Lincoln when he gave his speech in Beecher hall in 1859. However, it is probable that Lincoln visited Mrs. Duncan during his visit, as she did not die until 1862. In 1865, the same year that Lincoln was assassinated, The Duncan Family rented out the property to The State of Illinois, which turned into the first Illinois Institution for Idiotic children. After that, the building got listed on the national register of historic places in 1971. It still stands as one of the most Iconic historical locations in the central Illinois area.
This Gothic Revival-style home belonged to Newton Bateman in the 1850s. He was an educator and friend of Abraham Lincoln. Bateman was a principal of West Jacksonville District School, which is believed to be the first free public high school in Illinois. Bateman and Lincoln became friends after they had offices next to each other in the Illinois Capitol in Springfield before Lincoln left for Washington D.C.
One of Jacksonville's Walldog murals. This one commemorates one of Lincoln's early political speeches, delivered in front of the court house during 1854.
The northeast side of the Jacksonville Square is the location where Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas had a debate for the 1858 Senate Race.
This is the previous home of Methodist Minister and first MacMurray College President James Jaquess
"Home of Richard Yates Civil War Governor of Illinois 1845-1873"
John J. Hardin
The long-time home of Benjamin H. Grierson. Grierson was a talented musician who wrote music for Lincoln's presidential campain, but he is more well known for his work in the military, serving as a cavalry commander during the Civil War, and the Indian Wars. Grierson was known to have been a personal friend of Lincoln.