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Beardstown, Illinois

Beardstown Courthouse

To see the courtroom where Abraham Lincoln defended 24-year-old William ("Duff") Armstrong, take the stairs to the second floor. This is the only Illinois courtroom in use where Lincoln once practiced law.

The acquittal represented a personal and professional triumph for Lincoln, who once rocked the defendant's cradle in New Salem. The trial resulted from a nighttime brawl, and Lincoln produced an 1857 almanac (the year of the incident) to argue that the state's witness could not have seen Armstrong kill the victim. There was little light at the time, supposedly making it was too dark to identify the assailant.

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