Lincoln and The Law

During his twenty years on the Eighth Judicial Circuit, Abraham Lincoln tried numerous cases in the DeWitt County courthouses, including a slander case involving William Dungey.  In 1851, Dungey, "a dark-skinned man of Portuguese descent," married Joseph Spencer's sister.  The brothers-in-law had a dispute that became so bitter that by 1855, Spencer was making a serious accusation:  "Black Bill" Dungey, as Spencer was calling him, was a "negro."  In this time and place, if Dungey were indeed proven to have one-fourth African blood, he stood to lose his good reputation as well as his legal rights to his marriage, property ownership, his vote, and Illinois residency...

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas were co-counsel for the defendant in DeWitt County's first murder trial, People vs. Spencer Turner, one of the very few times Lincoln and Douglas worked as partners.  Turner was charged with causing injuries that led to the demise of Mathew Martin.  Proving the deceased came to his death from lying out in the harsh elements rather than blunt force to the head, the two won their case... 

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: 100 W. Washington St. Clinton, Illinois 61727


Phone Number: 217-935-3364