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 still 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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