Historical Tidbits

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  • Lincoln and the Old White Oak Trail

    During the 1850’s, Abraham Lincoln semiannually traveled the Old White Oak Trail from Metamora to Bloomington.  These semiannual trips were necessary because of his legal defense work on the Eighth Circuit Court. About two miles south of the Mackinaw River crossing at Wyatt’s Ford there was a cluster of farm homes at the intersection of the White Oak Trail and an east-to-west Indian trail referred to at the time as the “Kappa Road”.  About one-quarter mile east of this major intersection was the home of the Reuben Brown’s. Just west of the intersection was the home of the John Benson’s, and about one-half mile further west the home of the Abraham Carlock’s.  Brown and Benson were Whigs, but Abraham Carlock was known as the Old Democrat.  One might guess that Lincoln would have been inclined to stay the night with the Brown’s or the Benson’s, rather than staying with the Old Democrat.  But such is not the case. Lincoln, the Whig, did sometimes spend the night with his political opponent, the Old Democrat.

    It is believed that Lincoln’s last trip on the Old White Oak Trail was late in 1859 during his first campaign for the U.S. Presidency.  On that last night near White Oak Grove, Lincoln spent the night with Whigs, the Reuben Brown’s.