Among the distinguished men who have honored Mercer County with their presence, first comes Abraham Lincoln, who, as a surveyor, platted the town of New Boston on the 30th day of September, 1834. As years rolled by he grew in the estimation of the people; his speeches and orations were models of common sense and true eloquence. Greatest among all these was the immortal address on the battle field of Gettysburg. His greatest service to his country and humanity was, when, as President of this Nation, by the authority vested in him as such, he cast the shackles from the slave, that he might enjoy "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Robert J. Ingersoll was a political visitor in the interest of the Democratic party, in joint political discussion with the Hon. .William Kellogg, in 1860.
Shelby M. Cullom first bowed to a Mercer County audience in a speech in behalf of Henderson Ritchie, at that time the Republican candidate for Congress. He afterwards visited the county in his campaign for Governor, and has made other addresses here .since becoming United States Senator.
Warner Miller, a former Senator from the State of New York, honored the county with his presence and spoke in behalf of the Republican party.
George W. Julian not only came as a political speaker in 1868, but, previous to that, had taught school in the western part of the county.
Henry Watterson, editor of the Courier Journal, of Louisville, Ky., came as a lecturer and eulogized the life and character of Abraham Lincoln.
John A. Logan, the "Black Eagle" of Illinois, came among us not only as speaker for Republicanism, but dedicated the soldiers' monument in an address that will remain memorable for all time.
Joseph W. Fifer, as a Republican candidate for Governor, twice visited Mercer County. Lyman Trumbull came not only as a Republican in his early campaigns, but in after years, as a Democrat, addressed the people in Aledo.
Gen. John C. Black came here to advocate the principles of the Democracy, and any party should consider it an honor to have such a man to champion its cause.
John P. Altgeld was in Mercer County less than twenty-four hours, during his memorable campaign of 1892.
William J. Bryan visited this county but once, not as a partisan speaker, but in behalf of honesty in government.
Richard J. Oglesby, thrice Governor and once United States Senator, has visited our county many times as a champion of Republican principles.
Schuyler Colfax, once Vice-President, twice delivered his famous lecture on Abraham Lincoln at Aledo.
Last, but not least, comes Frances L. Willard, of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, who honored the women of Mercer County pot only by her presence among them, but as an advisor in their efforts to throttle the saloon interest in the county.
Historical Encyclopediaof Illinois
History of Mercer & Henderson Counties
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