— Looking for Lincoln —
Clifton H. Moore, DeWitt County's first resident attorney, built this stately brick home in 1857-58 on an eighty-acre tract of land purchased from Judge David Davis. The original house suffered damage from a windstorm and now lacks the west wing as pictured. In 1880, Moore purchased and moved into another large Clinton home known as "The Homestead."
Lincoln and Douglas had numerous speaking engagements other than their scheduled debates. Lincoln gave over sixty speeches, including one in a grove in the west part of Clinton on September 2, 1858.
The Republican grand mass meeting and barbecue picnic was preceded by a parade of elaborately decorated horse-drawn floats. An estimated crowd of ten thousand attended the gala affair, despite a heavy morning rain. "The Central Transcript" reported Clifton H. Moore introduced Lincoln, whose speech was "clear and convincing on the usual topics of the time."
Lincoln and Horace White, a "Chicago Tribune" reporter assigned to cover the event, traveled by train from Springfield, necessitating an early morning transfer at Decatur. Lincoln just barely caught the northbound train and failed to rouse White who finally awakened when the conductor called out "state line" (Indiana).
Consequently, it was evening before the weary White reached Moore's country home where he and Lincoln were overnight guests. White missed writing his newspaper report and payment for same, but all three men acquired a humorous story to share.
Clinton's newspaper, the "Central Transcript," strongly supported the Republican Party and Lincoln's participation in his campaign for President, including his four speeches delivered in Clinton, 1856-59.
The paper publicized and urged attendance to Clinton's Lincoln Club and parades of the Wide Awakes organized prior to the 1860 election. Phrases such as "old familiar face is again amongst us" and "he never fails to receive a hearty welcome," even "Old Abe" reveal a friendship between the editor and Lincoln.
The editor also wrote that the last time Lincoln was in Clinton, an old acquaintance apologized for naming his very ugly hound dog "Abe Lincoln." Lincoln's response was, "I don't care anything about it if the dog don't." Lincoln wrote his desire to subscribe to the newspaper and stated he would "pay at fall court."