By Mary JergensonMonday, June 11, 2001
Our adventure really began this past winter when Iowa Public Television aired a four part documentary on the lives of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. But I’ll admit that I have been a Lincoln admirer since grade school and so this pilgrimage has been a long time in the making.
Like all savvy travelers, I started on-line to see what Springfield had to offer in the way of Lincoln history and sights. Not only is Springfield the capital of Illinois but it is the location of the only home Lincoln ever owned. The travel guide indicates that Springfield is one of the most visitor friendly cities in America, and the city that Abraham Lincoln loved. That was enough for me. With a click of the mouse I ordered the requisite tourist information and was off and running.
The Memorial Day weekend seemed "altogether fitting and proper that we should do this." So with deposits sent, the car serviced and our child in his booster seat our family set out for the Land of Lincoln.
Lincoln himself is a paradox to me. Log-splitter and statesman; military strategist and loving father; simple farmer and great orator. He received only eight months of formal education in his life and yet became one of the most influential men in our nation’s history. Springfield was the city he called home before he moved to the White House. His law practice was there and he began socializing with politicians there.The House Lincoln Built
Abraham and Mary Lincoln bought the Greek revival style cottage which sits on the corner of Eighth and Jackson in 1844. They purchased the home from the Reverend Charles Dresser who had married the Lincoln’s two years before. As the Lincoln family grew so did the house. Eventually a second floor would be added. Three of the four Lincoln sons were born in the house and one, Eddie, died there.
The years in Springfield were happy ones for the Lincolns. As Abe built his law practice, Mary set to keeping the house and raising the children. Mary Todd Lincoln was from a wealthy Kentucky family and had only lived in Springfield a short time when she met the hard working lawyer. Despite their many differences the two were married on November 4, 1842.
Mary had been raised in affluence with servants and was well educated. Her education did not include housekeeping and cooking. She taught herself to cook and did virtually all the cooking for the h .....[Read the Rest]