Where Lincoln Walked

Founded in 1818, Jonesboro was the County Seat.  Several early politicians came from Jonesboro including Representative John Hacker, Secretary of State Alexander Field, State Treasurer Abner Field, U.S. Senator Richard Young, and Lt. Governor John Dougherty. Dougherty’s 1855 brick home still stands west of the square.

 Prosperous businesses, including the Union House Hotel operated with goods shipped along the plank road to and from Willard’s Landing on the Mississippi River. Jonesboro boasted churches, Jonesborough College, a Masonic hall, and a women’s seminary.  Two 1850’s Lutheran churches are still standing south of town.

            The day of the debate, Senator Douglas arrived by train, accompanied by the Jonesboro Band which had traveled to Cairo to meet him the previous evening, and proceeded to Jonesboro. At 2 o’clock the band marched to the fairground followed by the crowd, Douglas in a carriage, a cannon also brought from Cairo, and Lincoln walking alone with his hands behind him, his head bent forward, apparently in deep meditation.  The bandleader inquired who the tall man was-- and was told, “That is Lincoln, who has come to debate Senator Douglas!”

Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits tell the stories of Lincoln’s life and times in Illinois.  Each wayside exhibit tells a unique Lincoln story and a local story.  Many of the waysides share little known stories about Lincoln and the individuals he interacted with.  There are over 260 Looking for Lincoln waysides in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.    

Visitor Information

Address: 101 N. Main St. Jonesboro, Illinois 62952