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© Abraham Lincoln Online
Postville Courthouse State Historic Site914 5th Street
From 1840 to 1848 Lincoln visited this historic site twice a year as part of his circuit law practice when the town of Postville was the Logan County seat. The original building, erected in 1840, was a destination on the old Eighth Judicial Circuit in Illinois.
The Postville courthouse was located about 25 miles north of Lincoln's home in Springfield. When Lincoln first attended court here, he was a junior partner of John Todd Stuart. By 1844 he had opened his own law practice with William H. Herndon as junior partner. Lincoln's friend and colleague, Samuel Treat, was the presiding judge at Postville and traveled with the lawyers on the circuit.
In 1848 the town of Mt. Pulaski, 11 miles southeast, gained control of the county seat following a referendum. County records were transferred there, where another courthouse was built in which Lincoln also argued cases.
By 1929 industrialist Henry Ford acquired the original Postville courthouse and had it reassembled at his Deerfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. The Illinois site, then, offers a replica of the original building. The town of Lincoln, founded in 1853, eventually succeeded Postville. It is the only town named for Lincoln before he became President.
© Abraham Lincoln Online
You can reach the site by taking the I-55 business route to Lincoln, then heading for the west side of town to 914 5th Street. The building is open free of charge Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5:00 p.m. from March through October and from noon to 4:00 p.m. from November through February. It is closed on major holidays.
Abraham Lincoln and the Postville Courthouse (Leigh Henson)
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices (ALO)
Lincoln Legal Papers (The Papers of Abraham Lincoln Part I)
Lincoln Legal Practice on DVD-ROM (ALO)
Lincoln's Advice to Lawyers (ALO)
Lincoln's Notes for a Law Lecture (ALO)
Logan County Historic Sites
Looking for Lincoln
Postville Courthouse (Illinois Historic Preservation Agency)
Davenport, Don. In Lincoln's Footsteps: A Historical Guide to the Lincoln Sites in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. Revised edition, Trails Books, 2002.
Duff, John J. A. Lincoln: Prairie Lawyer. New York: Rinehart & Co., 1960.
Fraker, Guy C. Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit. Southern Illinois University Press, October 2012.
Frank, John P. Lincoln as a Lawyer. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1961.
Hill, Frederick T. Lincoln the Lawyer.
Steiner, Mark E. An Honest Calling: The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln. Northern Illinois University Press, 2006.
Walsh, John Evangelist. Moonlight: Abraham Lincoln and the Almanac Trial. St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Whitney, Henry C. Life on the Circuit with Lincoln. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1940.
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