Lincoln's Hat

Lincoln's Hat (HMG2Z)

Location: Clinton, IL 61727 De Witt County
Country: United States of America

N 40° 9.332', W 88° 57.609'

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Inscription

— Looking for Lincoln —

A proper Presbyterian Church was under construction in the summer of 1859. A floor was laid, walls, roof, and belfry nearly completed, when "a halt due to lack of funds" occurred. In October 1859, money was urgently needed to complete construction. The view from the building site to the DeWitt County Courthouse on the public square was unobstructed. Recognizing opportunity, the church ladies held a festival during court week to take maximum advantage of the generosity of visitors in town on legal business. Lincoln, wearing his stovepipe ha, was among those in attendance. Two church ladies, Mrs. Elizabeth Kent and Miss Roberts, greeted him at the entrance — for there was no door — and politely offered to take Lincoln's hat. Lincoln declined the offer, stating he had some important papers in it. Instead of handing the hat over, Lincoln placed it high on an unfinished beam, safely out of reach of others. According to local lore, Lincoln contributed to the fundraising efforts by purchasing a bouquet of violets from a little girl who accepted five dollars for the nosegay.

Lincoln's hat is an historical icon. At the Presbyterian Church event in October 1859, Lincoln was cautious about letting his hat out of his sight. There was one instance, however, when Lincoln was not so hesitant to part with it.In August 1864, Lincoln confided the following to his good friend, Ward Hill Lamon, with whom he spent many evenings in DeWitt County during their days on the Eighth Judicial Circuit: "I went to the Soldiers' Home alone, riding Old Abe... jogging along at a slow gait, immersed in deep thought when suddenly I was aroused by the report of a rifle." The shot caused Lincoln's horse to start, and, in Lincoln's words, "with one reckless bound he unceremoniously separated me from my eight-dollar plug hat." A soldier on guard duty heard the shot. Upon investigation, he and a companion found Lincoln's bullet-holed hat. Pictured are President Lincoln and Lamon, both wearing plug hats.
Details
HM NumberHMG2Z
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Tags
Year Placed2009
Placed ByClinton Presbyterian Church, Lincoln Heritage of DeWitt County
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 6:35am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 333056 N 4446862
Decimal Degrees40.15553333, -88.96015000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 9.332', W 88° 57.609'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 9' 19.92" N, 88° 57' 36.54" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 123 E Johnson St, Clinton IL 61727, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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