Abraham Lincoln in Rock County, WI

From "Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Vol. 14"

Annotated and Edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites

©1898 Democrat Printing Company, Madison, Wisconsin.


pp. 134-136

Abraham Lincoln was again in Rock county, in 1859. An invitation had been
extended to him to deliver the annual address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, at its fair held that year in Milwaukee. He delivered his address on Friday, September 30. Upon his return from Milwaukee, the following day, he accepted an invitation by the Republican club of Beloit to deliver an address in that city. He was met at the railway station by the members of the club, a band of music, and a large number of the citizens of Beloit, and escorted in a carriage to the BUSHNELL House (now the GOODWIN House), where he took dinner. At two o'clock he was escorted to Hanchett's Hall, at the corner of Broad and State streets, where he was introduced to a large and enthusiastic audience by John BANNISTER, the president of the Republican club, and presented a most conclusive vindication of the principles of the Republican party. His address was a review of the then somewhat famous article, "Popular Sovereignty in the Territories," contributed by Stephen A. Douglas to Harper's Monthly [vol. XIX, p. 519], for the preceding month of September. The meeting closed with three hearty cheers for the speaker.
At that time, I was secretary of the Republican club of Janesville. Learning, on the
morning of Saturday, that Lincoln was to deliver an address in Beloit in the afternoon of that day, - I had heard the debate between Lincoln and Douglas, at Freeport, in August, 1858, - it seemed to me very desirable that Mr. Lincoln address the Republicans of Janesville. I was at that time living with my partner, James H. KNOWLTON. Both Mr. and Mrs. KNOWLTON were out of the city; not wishing, therefore, to take Mr. Lincoln to the home of Judge Knowlton in the latter's absence, I asked William M. TALLMAN if he would entertain the speaker while in our city, which he assured me he would be pleased to do. I then asked him to accompany me Beloit, to invite the speaker. I took Judge KNOWLTON's carriage and driver, and with Mr. TALLMAN started for Beloit. On Main street, near Milwaukee street, we met Daniel WILCOX, one of the publishers of the Gazette, and I requested him also to accompany us to Beloit, which he did. When we reached HANCHETT's Hall, Lincoln had commenced his address. At its close, we introduced ourselves to him, and extended to him an invitation to return with us to Janesville and address our people that evening. This he consented to do, and we immediately returned to Janesville, reaching there before dusk. Finding James H. BURGESS at Beloit, he accepted our invitation to ride back to Janesville with us.
While returning from Beloit to Janesville, we came up what is known as the prairie,
or town-line road. This runs near the trail followed by Black Hawk and Atkinson's army. While coming over the prairie between Beloit and Janesville, Lincoln recognized the route over which he had marched twenty-seven years before, and freely talked with us about it.
On reaching Janesville, the news that Lincoln had arrived and would address the
people that evening, spread rapidly through the city, and a large audience gathered in what was then known as Young America Hall, in the Myers building. He was introduced to the audience by Dr. R. B. TREAT, president of the Republican club, and spoke entirely and with great effect, upon the political topics of the day.
Mr. Lincoln remained with the TALLMANs until Monday morning. On Sunday, he
attended the Congregational Church with the TALLMAN family, and on Monday morning left Janesvitle for his home in Illinois. He was never in Wisconsin again.
I have made out the probable itinerary of Abraham Lincoln in the Black Hawk War
(1832), as follows:
April 21st, enlisted at Beardstown, Ill.; 22nd to 26th, at Beardstown, Ill.; 27th, commenced the
march to the mouth of the Rock River; April 27th to May 3rd, on the march from Beardstown to Yellow Banks; 3rd to 7th, marched from Yellow Banks to Fort Armstrong, at the mouth of Rock River; 8th, at Fort Armstrong; 9th, commenced the march to Dixon's, by way of the Prophetstown; 10th and 11th, on the march from Fort Armstrong to Dixon's; 12th to 14th,at Dixon's, mustered into service; 15th, marched to Stillman's Run; 16th, returned to Dixon's; 19th, marched north from Dixon's; 20th to 22nd, north of Stillman's Run, searched for Black Hawk; 23rd to 26th, marched to Ottawa; 27th, mustered out at Ottawa, and re-enlisted in company of Capt. Elijah lies; 29th, at Ottawa, mustered into Capt. Iles's company; May 29th to June 15th, in camp with General Atkinson at Ottawa, and on march to Galena and return; 16th, at Ottawa, mustered out by Robert Anderson; 16th to 20th, at Ottawa, enlisted in the company of Capt. Jacob M. Early; 20th, mustered in; 21st, at Ottawa; 22nd, at Ottawa, ordered by Atkinson to march to Dixon's and report to General Brady; 23rd and 24th, at Dixon's, and scouting in that vicinity; 25th, marched to Kellogg's Grove; 26th, returned from Kellogg's Grove to Dixon's; 27th, marched north on the easterly side of Rock River, with Henry's brigade; 28th and 29th, on the march; 30th, reached Turtle Village, where Beloit now stands; July 1st, marched up Rock River to Black Hawk's Grove, at Janesville, and to Storrs Lake, at Milton; 2nd, marched from Milton north, towards Lake Koshkonong, camped on Otter Creek, and scouted in advance of the army; 3rd, scouted near Lake Koshkonong; 4th, followed Indian trail north of Lake Koshkonong; 5th and 6th, scouted in vicinity of Lake Koshkonong, and marched to Burnt Village, at junction of Whitewater Creek with Bark River; 7th, marched north of Lake Koshkonong; 8th, returned to Burnt Village; 9th, crossed to Black Hawk's Island, in Lake Koshkonong, scouting; 10th, mustered out of service, at Burnt Village; llth, left Burnt Village for home, by way of Peoria.
*Regarding the statement "again in Rock County" - The first time Lincoln was in Rock County was during the Blackhawk War, and is detailed in the "probable itinerary" at the end of the piece.
[The complete transcription (and digital images) of this piece as well as Vol. 14 in its entirety can be found at the Library of Congress* website.]

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