Background on the Debates

Founded in 1818, Jonesboro was the Union County Seat.  The adjacent city of Anna was only four years old in 1858. Douglas chose Union County for the site of this debate because of strong Southern sympathies here, hoping Lincoln would express abolitionist views.  Douglas had said he wanted to “trot Lincoln down to Egypt”, a common name for Southern Illinois. Douglas also thought this strongly Democratic county under the leadership of John S. Hacker would support him. However, the party was split with one group of Democrats calling themselves “Danites”.  They were led by John Dougherty (later to be Lt. Gov. of Illinois). David L. Phillips, a friend of Lincoln’s who was campaigning against John A. Logan for a seat in Congress, encouraged Lincoln to come to Jonesboro and stay at his home in Anna, which is still standing today.

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: 521 N. Main St. Jonesboro, Illinois 62952