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Lincoln Judicial Circuit Woodford County seat marker - Metamora, IL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member adgorn
N 40° 47.495 W 089° 21.755
16T E 300670 N 4518307
Quick Description: One of a series that marks the route of Lincoln as he rode the Eighth Judicial District.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 4/23/2016 3:20:16 PM
Waymark Code: WMR0FY
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Corp Of Discovery
Views: 0

Long Description:
"Abraham Lincoln
traveled this way as he rode
the Circuit of the Eighth
Judicial District ···1847 - 1857

Erected 1921

Logos: Daughters of the American Revolution - Lincoln Circuit Marking Association"

The following is paraphrased from the excellent article by Guy Fraker, the “leading authority" on Abraham Lincoln's trail as he and his fellow lawyers worked on the Illinois Eighth Judicial District of 1847 - 1859. See his work at (visit link) .

Circuit Riding
The lawyers rode from the semi-annual court session in one county to that in the next. The counties of Illinois were organized into circuits by the legislature. As population increased, not only would counties be divided, but the number of counties in each circuit would change to reflect the changes in population. These lawyers were traveling the Eighth Judicial Circuit, consisting of fourteen counties containing an area of over ten thousand square miles—more than twice the size of the state of Connecticut. The population of those counties in the census of 1850 was approximately one hundred thousand. Each spring and fall, court was held in consecutive weeks in each of the fourteen counties, a week or less in each. The exception was Springfield, the state capital and the seat of Sangamon County. The fall term opened there for a period of two weeks. Then the lawyers traveled the fifty-five miles to Pekin, which replaced Tremont as the Tazewell County seat in 1850. After a week, they traveled the thirty-five miles to Metamora, where they spent three days. The next stop, thirty miles to the southeast, was Bloomington, the second-largest town in the circuit. Because of its size, it would generate more business, so they would probably stay there several days longer. From there they would travel to Mt. Pulaski, seat of Logan County, a distance of thirty-five miles; it had replaced Postville as county seat in 1848 and would soon lose out to the new city of Lincoln, to be named for one of the men in this entourage. The travelers would then continue to another county and then another and another until they had completed the entire circuit, taking a total of eleven weeks and traveling a distance of more than four hundred miles."

The Markers
In 1922 and 1923, nineteen markers were placed on the county lines of each of the counties of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. In addition, a monument bearing a slightly different profile of Lincoln with the same legend was placed on the face of a rectangle of granite at every county seat of the circuit.

The creation of this collective memorial to Lincoln and the circuit's role in his life began in 1914 when the Alliance Chapter of the DAR in Champaign-Urbana invited Judge Joseph O. Cunningham of Urbana to speak. The appearance was apparently sparked by the creation of the proposed Lincoln Highway, a coast-to-coast highway that ultimately became U.S. 30, crossing Illinois further north. Cunningham was eighty-three years old and reputed to be the last surviving attorney who had practiced with Lincoln. Following the meeting, the local DARs presented the idea to the state organization. To broaden the support and effort beyond the members of the DAR, a separate organization (Under the Auspices of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Illinois) was incorporated in 1916—The Lincoln Circuit Marking Association.

The most influential and active participant was Lotte Jones of Danville. A member of the DAR, she was selected as the first chairman of the executive committee in 1916 and served until her death in 1933. All titles aside, she was the association's "czar." At the organizational meeting of October 13, 1916, Jones was already able to report on her work surveying the roads traveled and the appropriate locations for the county-line markers. Acting for the association, she had engaged a young landscape architect from San Diego, Frederich Gordan Lysle. He came to Illinois in 1916, and the two traveled the entire circuit, working on the difficult task of deciphering the old roads, many long since obscured by the settlement and sectioning of rural Illinois. Jones enlisted the help of noted local historians throughout the circuit. The plan was to mark the circuit in three different ways. First was the marker at each county seat. Second was the marker to be placed at the points where the traveling lawyers traversed each county line.

For the county-seat marker, she ultimately selected a renowned architect, Henry Bacon. A native of Watseka, he grew up in Wilmington, NC. He studied for a year at the University of Illinois before going to work in 1885 in New York as an architect in training. He studied in Europe for several years and finally started his own firm in 1903. He was awarded the commission for the Lincoln Memorial in 1905 at the age of thirty-nine. Jones went to Washington, D.C., and was given a tour of the memorial by him in 1921. His design for the county-seat marker included a specification of the material, Greens Landing granite 5 feet 6 inches by 2 feet 4 inches and 12 inches thick. The face of the granite was recessed for the placement of a plaque. Bacon referred to this monument as "The little brother of the great Memorial." New York sculptor Georg J. Lober designed the plaque and created the markers in 1921.
County: Woodford

Historical Society: Daughters of the American Revolution - Lincoln Circuit Marking Association

Dedication Date: 1922

Location: on East Partridge Street, on the right when traveling west, in front of old courthouse

Website: [Web Link]

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